Cermit Rickey of Tacoma, Washington is the first to admit that he had “no idea what he was doing” when he agreed to join the Society’s advocacy efforts for his first-ever State Action Day. He had participated in Society sponsored self-help groups for years but he had little experience in advocacy or politics. That leap of faith in 2006, quickly turned Cermit into a life-long advocate.
Cermit says that his newfound passion for advocacy comes from the rare combination of two things – it’s fun and it’s effective. Each year he has attended a State Action Day he has not only become a stronger advocate for people living with MS, but he has developed stronger relationships with his elected officials and their staff. Cermit views the progression like this: on your first trip you might be timid; by the second, you’re on a roll; and by your eighth, your elected officials start recognizing you in restaurants and grocery stores around town. “It’s hard to forget the bright orange and a name like Cermit,” he says.
Cermit will be attending his ninth State Action Day this year  and adds “It’s a special feeling to be recognized by your representatives. Our elected officials are human just like we are, they put their pants on one leg at a time, and they need our guidance more than ever on issues important to MS activists. Who better to give guidance on those issues than people living with MS?”
Cermit was diagnosed with MS in 1998 shortly after moving to Washington from New Jersey. Prior to his diagnosis, he had been hospitalized for stroke-like symptoms on numerous occasions; he finally confided in a friend a medical student and wife, who was an MRI technician. Together they worked to help Cermit receive the diagnosis and treatment he had long been seeking.
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