“Our personal stories are powerful and relatable, and we hope that other Iowans will want to lend their voices,” said Emily Holley, the Executive Director of Iowa Voices.
Monday, Nov. 18 was the official launch of the campaign, and Iowa Voice’s hopes to impact health care discussions in the state and around the country, by giving Iowans their platform.
Iowa Voices will be publishing one personal story a week, in several different forms, including straight-to-camera testimonials. Anyone can submit their personal healthcare story on their website.
Debut: Vicki Pilcher’s Story from the Heartland
The first story published was Vicki Pilcher, from Independence, Iowa. Pilcher, who spoke to Starting Line in September, has been mildly rationing and struggling to afford Humira, a medication that is saving her from going blind.
“I just think it’s wrong that we have to jump through so many hoops and be denied medications—especially ones the FDA has approved for that use—because of insurance company greed and pharmaceutical company greed,” Pilcher explains in her story.
Pilcher also calls out Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley by name, which will probably be a frequent theme on Stories from the Heartland, with Ernst and Grassley working with other Republicans to tear down health care protections.
“Senator Joni Ernst isn’t paying any attention to the dignity and respect that all people deserve,” Pilcher writes. “All she’s doing is working for the people who give her the big money, and I just think that’s so immoral and wrong, it makes me want to cry.”
A Path to Storytelling
Stories from the Heartland is designed to give people the opportunity to tell their own story, in their own words.
“With the ongoing health care discussions happening in Washington, we want to be sure that the experiences of everyday Iowans are heard,” Holley explained.
Roxy Strike will be featured soon on Stories from the Heartland, and she told Starting Line that she’s looking forward to sharing her story.
“Sharing my story lifts my own voice up, but I hope it also inspires those who don’t have the chance to share their story,” Strike said. “I hope to be a voice, and to help share this story. A lot of people die from diabetes, I feel like I’m lucky and I owe it to those who have died to share my story.”
Strike also said that putting real faces, and having people tell their own story in their own words, will make the voices more of a force.
“I can lists facts and numbers all day about people being negatively effected by high drug prices, but putting a face to the issue makes an even bigger impact,” Strike explained. “I highly encourage everyone to share their story. The more faces we put to this, the harder it is to ignore us; we’re stronger in numbers.”
By Josh Cook