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Happy 10th Anniversary to AdvoConnection! Gifts for You, and a Challenge, Too
They have been the fastest, most exhausting, most rewarding, and most humbling years of my life… And they result in a story in which the universe has played quite a large role. On September 18, 2009 – ten years ago this week – the AdvoConnection Directory was launched. Just the directory. Here’s what it looked like: Nothing like today’s directory! No, 10 years later, we’ve kept up with its growth, we’ve kept up with technology – AND we’ve kept up with MEMBERS. It might surprise you to learn that having members wasn’t even in the cards when we first launched. The original intent was simply to provide a means for patients to find help. They could search and find one of the 30 – yes! only 30! – advocates who had listed themselves in the directory.* No members? Not really. We had listed those people who self-described themselves as advocates, never realizing how quickly they would become overwhelmed by the number of people who needed their help. Nor did we realize that most were volunteers. As volunteers, with requests to work 24/7/365, many while maintaining other jobs, they could not sustain the work. Which is when the universe kicked in. Many readers of this blog know that my work in advocacy resulted from a heinous misdiagnosis in 2004. À la “hell hath no fury” – my total disgust with the healthcare system resulted in my work as Every Patient’s Advocate. Eventually I realized that if many people were doing the work I was doing, then many, MANY more patients would benefit. The AdvoConnection idea-seed took root in my head. The original AdvoConnection logo. Notice the link instead of the APHA logo in the middle. Here’s when I realized the universe was speaking to me, when I realized that what advocates needed was NOT about advocacy – most already know advocacy and know it well. What they really needed was help starting and growing a business so they could SUSTAIN their advocacy work! Make a living at it! Do good by doing well in business! So what does that have to…