Lobby Day '09 "fantastic"
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Lobby Day '09 "fantastic"
by Madelyn Arnold - SGN Contributing Writer

Seventy clients and others from Bailey Boushay's Adult Day Health descended on Olympia February 25. "It was fantastic," pronounced client Alex Negesse.

That was the general reaction to Lobby Day, 2009.

Organized as always by Lifelong AIDS, the determined staff and clients had a lot to say, and were by all accounts favorably received. Far from being shy, some actively courted legislators. Participants had been divided into legislative districts, each one with a particular speaker - though most spoke up anyway.

The clients, staff, one or two board members and some volunteers boarded the bus for Olympia at 8:00 a.m. and met with a group organized by the United Churches of Olympia on how best to make contact. Said Angela Williams, everyone was urged, "don't be negative, stay open to things, and speak up." She noted that only four people had died of AIDS since the beginning of this year. Without the nurses at Bailey Boushay's ADH program, it could have been much higher.

Bailey-Boushay House, operated by Virginia Mason Hospital, has prided itself in being Seattle's first - America's first - skilled nursing facility planned, funded, built and staffed to meet the needs of people living with AIDS. But it's now faced with doom.

Its wide range of services includes Adult Day Health Care and Residential (Nursing Home) Care. These speak to the changing medical, physical, mental and emotional needs of clients. Adult Day Health is due to close at the end of the fiscal year, and with the ordered state cutbacks, the entire structure could be closed or redefined. It already houses patients with diseases other than AIDS.

And so Lifelong AIDS Alliance has organized Lobby Day again. Local artist Michelle Anderson was so impressed with the "body count," it cheered her up about other aspects of this downturn. "This is an era of hope. Everything seems better & like we can keep our culture alive. We have to keep art in the schools, music, poetry." It seemed as if Obama's emphasis on education might do just that.

A gorgeous early spring day to undergo what was, for many, a new experience. And something else new: ADH may be recategorized as "Chronic Disease Management," making its funding less fragile. It would be nice not to do this calypso every year.