In 2007, under the leadership of former Executive Director Catherine Rice, the IETF set out with a plan to bring greater awareness to this unknown and silent condition called essential tremor. We took our fight directly to Washington D.C. If we could get official recognition of the condition on a national level, if essential tremor was viewed as a serious neurological condition affecting a significant portion of the population, then we could set a precedent for future advocacy efforts. The IETF wanted to demonstrate that we are aggressive and relentless on behalf of our members and will bring the real-world concerns of our community to the front door of our nation’s decision-makers. It took three years of meetings and phone calls and discussions with legislators and congressional staff before we finally struck a chord.
Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) met with Rice directly at his office in Overland Park, KS (which is also the home of the IETF). He personally knew someone, a close friend, who was really struggling to cope with his essential tremor. He was moved by the mission of the organization, the passion of the community, and his firsthand knowledge of how essential tremor can impact someone’s life. In the spring of 2010, Rep. Moore introduced House Resolution 1264 to officially recognize March as National Essential Tremor Awareness (NETA) Month.
By December 2010, 53 co-sponsors in the House signed on, and the IETF gained enough support to bring the bipartisan resolution to the full House for a vote. It may have taken years to go from an idea to a real resolution presented on the United States House of Representatives floor, but it was a proud day—well worth the effort—when it was ultimately passed.
The IETF expresses sincere gratitude to Rep. Moore, now retired, who sponsored the resolution, and to the many IETF members who helped take the resolution to the next level by contacting their U.S. representatives and asking them to support the resolution. We could have never done it without the support and dedication of the essential tremor community.