Monday, July 20, 2015

Faces of the Fight - Luke Shultz

It is not often you come across someone in life that you trust so deeply before you have ever even met in person.  Our Face of the Fight this week brings knowledge and experience to the table, but more than that his quiet confidence, rational thinking, willingness to jump in wherever he can and humor have become an indispensable asset to the cause.

Although he began advocating for medical cannabis years before us, Luke Shultz has always put our kids first.


If it were up to him, he'd probably give up his hope of access in order to give our kids what they need. His selfless service to the cause has been an inspiration to those of us who are blessed to call him "friend".

Campaign4Compassion is not just moms, you know. One of our longest standing team members is Luke.

The first time I met him, he was standing stoically in the corner at a meeting.  Listening intently, shoulders back, taking it all in.  I initially thought he might have had a law enforcement background, hair trimmed perfectly, booming voice, and perfect posture.  I then noticed a hat sitting at his feet surrounded in medicine bottles and I knew there had to be more to his story.\

Luke is a severe chronic pain patient; his life often spent standing in a good position or lying flat on his back.  Driving a car is impossible and riding in one requires much forethought. 

Luke still shows up. 

Every event, every lobby day, every planning meeting, Luke is there.  He is someone you can count on every time, with a smile on his face and passion in his voice. That says a lot about his character.  It also says a lot about his commitment to the cause, this isn’t just a pastime for Luke; he puts a brave face to the plight of adult chronic pain patients.  He goes out of his way to educate others on the benefits of medical cannabis for multiple diseases, calling legislators, taking a new advocate under his wing, always offering advice and support.  He works tirelessly to keep everyone informed on new legislative information and uses his time to collect and input information on hundreds of fellow advocates into a program he and his son designed to make our lobbying efforts easier.

A peacemaker, an advocate, an amateur comedian, C4C is so proud to highlight Luke Shultz as our “Face of the Fight”.

“Campaign4Compassion always has some project going, some event, some meeting. There's a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for various obligations. Luke is always the first person to volunteer. There has never been anything that he wouldn't do for this cause. I'm grateful for his friendship, and for his drive. But I'm mostly thankful that every single day, at least once, he cracks a really corny joke that makes everyone laugh for a moment. And in those moments, even if you're feeling frustrated and tired, Luke reminds you that life is good, no matter what.” ~Lolly Myers

“Many people in Pa suffer with chronic, debilitating pain on a daily basis but so few that we know do it with such heart. Luke is relentless. He is fearless. He is determined. But...I think something we can all appreciate about Luke is that, through all of the ups and downs over the last two years, knowing that he lives in constant pain, he maintains a stellar sense of humor.” ~Dana Ulrich

“It is has been an honor to watch my good friend Luke Shultz grow from an involved participant to a real leader. He has established an impeccable reputation and demonstrated his dedication, loyalty and trustworthiness. He works hard and he works smart. I could go on and on about Luke's contributions to the cause of reform but the best thing that I can say about Luke is that he is truly a good and decent man. In today's world, that means a lot.” ~Les Stark

~With admirable inner strength Luke pushes forward every day to achieve safe access for all Pennsylvanians in need. I am so honored to work along- side him and feel blessed to have met a man with such a wise soul and fun loving heart.” ~Cara Salemme

Luke is an educated and passionate Medical Cannabis Advocate. We are so fortunate to have him in this fight for PA. He has taught us all how to live with such grace, while suffering from unspeakable pain! ~Diana Briggs

The first interaction I had with Luke was online. He was helping about 20 mothers of epileptic children compile a list of side effects of FDA approved drugs that our children had experienced. As he read through more and more side effects that they had lived through, his comments of compassion and concern were evident. That list became the posters you see at every rally, press conference or meeting. ~Angela Sharrer

Friday, July 10, 2015

Faces of the Fight - Our Gal - MP Tomei

On November 18th, 2013, roughly 150 medical cannabis advocates gathered in the rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol. This wasn’t the first time that this sort of assembly had been gathered there. But it was the first time the crowd was comprised mostly of parents with sick children.

We weren’t Campaign for Compassion yet, but we were the seed from which C4C was grown. The day’s events were a rush of excitement, zipping through the halls of this magnificent building. We held a rally, a press conference, a presentation, and several meetings. But by far, the most memorable moment for me that day was the swift walk to the Media Center, where Senator Daylin Leach would be speaking on his plans for bipartisan Medical Cannabis legislation, with Senator Mike Folmer.

I will never forget the petite, bubbly lady in the cute black dress and pearls who walked along with me, chatting. I must admit, I had no idea who she was, but I knew I liked her. She gave me her business card, and the next day when I dug it out of my purse, I realized she worked for Senator Leach. I forget who called who, or how long exactly we were on the phone for, but I can tell you with absolute certainty, that one of the reasons our cause has advanced is that she has been with us ever since that day.

There are many advocates that have dedicated themselves to the mission to legalize Medical Cannabis in the Commonwealth, we appreciate each one. But today, we want to take a few moments to recognize Mary Pat Tomei, or “MP”. MP has counseled us, encouraged us, cried for us, given up nights and weekends for us, and done it all with a lot of class and a fabulous sense of humor. We probably don’t thank her nearly enough, so without further ado, MP is hereby named our first “Face of the Fight”.

Of course, this honor comes with no trophy, no medals, not even a certificate. But what it does carry is the hope and gratitude of thousands of ill Pennsylvanians, who will forever be indebted to our gal, Mary Pat Tomei.

"MP "She's Petite but Mighty" We are blessed to have her in our fight for MMJ4PA!" - Diana Briggs

"Before actually having the opportunity to meet MP, she sent me a heartfelt email regarding her support for medical cannabis.  I have been in awe of her ongoing fight in this cause.  I am beyond grateful for her guidance, support and tremendous friendship."  - Christine Brann

"Every movement needs that one person, that person who organizes, uplifts, keeps you on track, is your biggest cheerleader and stays with you every step of the way...not because they have to but because they want to. They do it out of love and compassion. No movement can exist without these people and for us, that has been our beloved Mary Pat Tomei, or MP as we like to call her. Thanks for always being there for us MP. Much love <3 " - Deena Kenney

"MP has devoted HOURS and HOURS and blood, sweat and tears to this cause. Not because she needs access....but rather she has gotten to know children, as well as adults, that are in need of safe access. She is one of the most honest, hardworking and compassionate people I know and I feel blessed to be fighting this fight along side of her." - Angela Sharrer

"MP is such a sweet, cute and classy lady with a twist. She has been a true inspiration and blessing to have in our life.  Her compassion and dedication to our cause continues to give us hope and faith that our loved ones will soon have a chance at a better quality of life." - Heather Shuker
"It is so refreshing to see first hand, the dedication and commitment shown by MP to helping the sickest and most desperate among us by working tirelessly to improve our cannabis laws and correct the great injustice that was foisted upon us many years ago. I am thankful she is among the ranks of public servants who are making a positive difference in our lives. And on a personal level she is one of the nicest people I've ever met." - Luke Shultz