Joseph Jennings was pissed. A few weeks ago, the US Preventative Task Force increased the age that they recommend women start mammograms for breast cancer screening from 40 to 50 years old.
“I think they are misguided. It is a gross injustice to everyone. To act like the younger women don’t get cancer is mind blowing,” said Joseph.
The recommendation is exactly what he’s been fighting against for months. In November 2014, Joseph’s wife Kristen died from breast cancer leaving behind two daughters. Kristen was 38 years old. Joseph’s petition asks to make breast cancer screenings covered by insurance for women under the age of 40.
Yet, despite the recommendation by the US Preventative Task Force, Joseph’s petition may be on the verge of winning. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze, a practicing physician, has agreed to prepare and present a bill to the Oklahoma legislature that would make breast cancer screenings covered by insurance to more women in Oklahoma.
This bill is the culmination of many months of media interviews, meetings with legislators, crowdfunding for radio ads, working with a Facebook group of supporters, and building promotional partnerships with organizations.
Even as his campaign is still pursuing victory, Joseph is passing his experience on to others as a Change.org coach.
The Change.org coach program pairs new petitions starters with some of the most passionate, effective Change.org users. Coaches will spend about an hour a week helping others create a compelling petition, promote it, and win it.
“The hard work is getting people to understand your story,” said Joseph. “Getting them to understand it and not just look the other way. We got out there doing foot stomping and talking to everyone we could. I even set up profiles on dating sites to promote the petition.”
While some people would be overwhelmed by anger, Joseph has left the anger behind and maintains his passion. Now he’s hoping to pass that passion on to others who are trying to make change as a coach.
Learn more about Change.org’s coaching program or apply to be a coach by visiting http://petitionguide.org/coaches