Friday, December 15, 2017

Kathy Siggins Stamps Out Alzheimer’s

I went to my local post office this week and bought a sheet of Alzheimer’s semipostal stamps. I couldn’t help but brag, “My friend, Kathy Siggins, is the one who got the approval for this stamp. She worked eighteen years to make it happen!”

Often, we claim people as friends when they do something extraordinary—something that makes a mark in history. In this case, I wasn’t exaggerating. I met Sarah Harris, Jane Adams, and Kathy Siggins at the first Alzheimer’s forum I went to in 2001. We forged a lasting and special friendship of the heart. 

And guess what? Kathy was already working on the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp, and was still working on it at the 2017 forum.

Well, frankly, I didn’t even know what a semipostal stamp was, or why we wanted, much less needed, an Alzheimer’s stamp. Since then, thanks to my friend Kathy, I’ve learned quite a bit about them.

Getting a semipostal stamp approved isn’t easy. As you’ve heard said before…it takes an Act of Congress. The Semipostal Authorization Act grants the U.S. Postal Service authority to sell fundraising stamps to further causes that are in the national interest. They will issue five semipostal stamps over the next ten years, with the Alzheimer’s stamp being the first discretionary semipostal stamp. The second stamp, already approved, is another cause near-and-dear to me: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder semipostal stamp.

Why are these stamps important? Prior semipostal stamps have raised millions of dollars. Congress mandated the first semipostal stamp in history for Breast Cancer Research  which raised $86.7 million and a Save Vanishing Species Semipostal stamp that raised $4.3 million.

The Alzheimer’s stamp costs sixty cents. The additional cost of the stamp will go toward Alzheimer’s research. As Congressman Elijah Cummings said at the dedication, this is a “big deal.”

Kathy Siggins has been busy lately. The stamp was released on November 30 and she was a special guest at the official dedication of the stamp. The Congressman recognized Kathy for her work. “You turned your pain into a passion and to a purpose.” He said it would affect generations yet unborn. He went on to say, “Your name may never appear on the front page of the Washington Post. You may not even make the local gazette… By the way, you may never be famous, but there will be people who will benefit from what you did.”

The Congressman said Kathy was an example of how “one person who instead of standing on the sidelines of life having a pity party” used her energy to make life better for somebody else.

I’ve followed Kathy’s various events online: award presentations, television interview, dedication parties, and celebrations. She takes it all in stride. Kathy has worked toward this day for so long, I’m sure she is filled with exhilaration.
The stamp, thanks to the unwavering efforts of Kathy Siggins, will be on sale for two years. Buy early and often! Let this be the only stamp you buy in the next two years.
Kathy and Sarah (back), Linda and Jane (front) 

Yes, Kathy, you are our Alzheimer’s hero. Speaking for Sarah, Jane, and myself, we
salute you, our sister of the heart, and heap our gratitude and love on you for being the special person you are.

The US Postal Service dedication ceremony:


Copyright © December 2017 by L.S. Fisher


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