In the realm of advocacy, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) stands as a symbol of hope, uniting individuals with a shared dedication to making the world a better place for people with obesity.
This blog post sheds light on the remarkable stories of five OAC Community Members—Amber, Jaime, Jason, Kevin, and Sarah—who represent the transformative power of advocacy. Their journeys, fueled by personal experiences and an unwavering commitment to positive change, showcase the impact individuals can have when they stand up for themselves and others.
Join us as we explore the inspiring narratives of these advocates, each contributing to the collective strength of the OAC. Together, the OAC Community is making strides towards a world that respects and supports people affected by obesity.
The Power of Amber
Meet Amber Huett-Garcia, a dedicated advocate for obesity care with a passion that spans decades. Amber’s personal experience with obesity has driven her to champion understanding and support for those facing similar challenges. She has held leadership roles within the OAC, including the former Chair of the Board of Directors. One of her current projects as an active volunteer is overseeing the OAC’s Rob Portinga Memorial Scholarship Fund, which makes it possible for individuals in need to access the high-quality education and uniquely supportive community offered by the Your Weight Matters Convention each year since 2012.
“Advocacy for me also means self-advocacy. As a person who has been affected by obesity my entire life, I have managed to assemble a care team that listens to me, treats me with dignity and respect, and I have been able to maintain a 240-pound weight-loss… For me, OAC not only gives me hope, but it saved my life.”
The Power of Jaime
Meet Jaime Fivecoat, whose story is a testament to using personal experiences to connect with others and drive change. Jaime, a former OAC Board Member, and active OAC volunteer has been on a decades-long journey with patient advocacy, particularly for people living with obesity. Jaime is selfless, thoughtful and intelligent – using these superpowers to stand up for change in various marginalized communities.
“OAC is an amazing organization that has saved and helped so many lives, and I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of that, and I am so grateful for the education that I’ve learned from the OAC that helped me advocate for obesity and for many other organizations that I work with. The work that we do is very important, and it really does save lives…”
The Power of Jason
Meet Jason Krynicki of Manchester, New Jersey – the kind of advocate who inspires you to dream big. Jason has been an OAC Member for several years, and he’s managed to turn his own experience with obesity into broader awareness on the state and national level. Motivated by his personal struggles, Jason approached New Jersey state legislators about recognizing Obesity Care Week, an annual public awareness week dedicated to changing the way society cares for and about obesity. Jason’s advocacy efforts lead to the official designation of the second week of October each year as Obesity Care Week in New Jersey!
“I make the world a better place for people living with obesity every day. As a bariatric insurance coordinator, I advocate for people living with obesity every day to get them approved for bariatric surgery. I also bring awareness that obesity is a disease, and I use people-first language… If it wasn’t for the OAC, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have learned everything about advocacy through the OAC.”
The Power of Kevin
Meet Kevin Stephens, a remarkable member of the OAC whose personal journey with obesity has become a powerful force for change. As a dedicated volunteer on the OAC’s Inclusivity and Diversity Task Force, Kevin works tirelessly to challenge societal biases and dismantle the barriers faced by people of color living with obesity. His commitment to creating a more inclusive world has earned him immense respect within the OAC Community and beyond.
“With the training provided by the OAC, I was able to be an advocate for myself and take charge of my healthcare, and also be a voice for those living with obesity.”
The Power of Sarah
Meet Sarah Bramblette, a passionate advocate who, like many people living with severe obesity, has faced health challenges. Sarah attended advocacy training at the very first Your Weight Matters Convention, taking those skills to advocate for the passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) and the Lymphedema Treatment Act. Thanks to Sarah’s advocacy efforts, the Lymphedema Treatment Act was passed into law last year.
“Eleven years ago, I attended advocacy training at the inaugural Your Weight Matters Convention. I took those skills and began advocating for the passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and the Lymphedema Treatment Act. It’s been a decade of advocacy, pushing for better access to care for patients like me, but last year the Lymphedema Treatment Act was passed into law and beginning in January of next year, patients with lymphedema will have access to compression garments, and this will greatly improve the lives of millions of Americans.”
The Power of Change, the Power of You
Obesity Action Coalition’s Community Members, such as Amber, Jaime, Jason, Kevin, and Sarah, exemplify the transformative power of advocacy and the positive impact it can have on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Their dedication and passion contribute significantly to making the world a better place for people with obesity.
We invite you to join these and other remarkable OAC Community Members in unleashing The Power of Change, the Power of You. Your donation is more than just a financial contribution. It’s an investment in the changing of lives, the reshaping of health policies and the empowerment of countless individuals. (Plus, OAC’s National Board of Directors has committed to matching donations, dollar-for-dollar, throughout the season, so your donation will have TWICE the impact).
When you support our cause, you become a part of something bigger – a powerful force working to create a world where everyone can access the care, understanding, and support they need. Together, we can make a profound impact on the lives of millions of people affected by obesity and work towards a healthier world for all.