What an amazing week. More than 160 children and teenagers from throughout the U.S., and several from around the world, converged in Washington, D.C., from July 8-10, for the JDRF 2013 Children’s Congress, the largest grassroots advocacy event focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D). Read our Wrap-Up Blog with News Clips.
Independence Day fireworks have all burned down, but JDRF is amping up the excitement! JDRF Children’s Congress, our flagship advocacy event, takes place in Washington, D.C., next week. This biennial event—now one of the largest of its kind—was first held in 1999. This year, it will take Capitol Hill by storm July 8 to 10.
This year, 161 of JDRF’s youngest advocates, ages 4 to 17, will live out the opportunity of a lifetime—and they’ve been planning for it for months. Though it all plays out in just three days, Children’s Congress is a momentous occasion for everyone involved—for the delegates, who will represent the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community and experience democracy in action; for their Members of Congress, some of who will be learning about T1D for the first time; and for JDRF, as we work tirelessly to achieve our vision of a world without T1D.
Dear Parents, This coming school year, I’ll be a senior―and then it’s off to college. All parents worry about their kids. A parent of a kid with type 1 diabetes (T1D) finds an apartment within a one-mile radius of his or her child. But parents, as hard as it is, you eventually have to let your kids go. It’s okay. Most of us have lived with T1D for a long time, and we know the tricks of the trade. We know to carry glucose tablets with us everywhere we go; we’ve learned how to aggressively bolus when our blood sugar just won’t go down. But it’s more than that―T1D has taught us a lot about how to live life.
As a delegate at the upcoming JDRF 2013 Children’s Congress, I will be called upon to represent the approximately three million people with T1D in the United States. As a teenager who has lived with T1D for 10 years, maybe I can represent others like me to worried parents everywhere. My message to you: we are independent enough to deal with T1D on our own. Not convinced? Read on―you will be. …..By Cindy Chen (17 years old, California)
When my friends pack for trips with their families, they worry about remembering their swimsuit or their favorite book or an extra pair of socks. For my trip to Washington, D.C., next month—where I will be one of 161 delegates at JDRF Children’s Congress—I’ll be thinking about similar things. But there’s a whole other list of essentials that I can’t forget—all the supplies I need to treat my type 1 diabetes (T1D)! To help me remember what to pack in my suitcase—and to give you an idea of what it’s like to travel as a person with T1D—I created this video. The other delegates and I have a very important job to do in Washington. We have to stay healthy while we do it! By Amelia Rehrman (11 years old, Pennsylvania)
My daughter has been a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic since she was 10 months old. There were some scary moments when she was very young, and some rough times when she was a teenager. But she’s doing quite well now. One of the silver linings of the early onset of a chronic disease is that you learn to treat it as an unfortunate fact of life, though one that must be constantly monitored and managed. By Lenny Bernstein, Published: June 17, from The Washington Post.
Sometimes people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) get so accustomed to our own slang and “inside” phrases, it’s easy to forget not everyone knows what we’re talking about. Heck, even to this day my grandmother still thinks “LOL” means “lots of love.” (Grammie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry you had to find out this way. We just didn’t have the heart to enlighten you when you texted us things like “I know you can fight your high blood sugar LOL.”) But you see my point; it’s perfectly normal to turn to your nine-year-old with T1D in the grocery store and ask “are you high?” but everyone else in that store will think you’re crazy. By Reed Gialketsis (17 years old, Nevada)
Wow, time flies—Children’s Congress is less than five weeks away! I know from experience that when the delegates and their families actually get to the capital on July 8, time will fly even faster. And in all the excitement, it can be pretty easy to forget some important things. So I have a special message for the delegates—a few tips I learned when I was a delegate at Children’s Congress 2011. I hope this will help you be the most effective delegate you can be (and have the most fun, too). By Jonathan Platt (nine years old, California)
I can still remember the exact moment, almost three years ago, when my mom told me that my friend Lindsi had passed away. My mom had picked me up from school and was taking me to dance class. A rush of emotions swept over me as my mom looked over to make sure I was OK. Not only was I shocked and upset over losing a friend, I knew that Lindsi’s and my roles could easily have been switched. Lindsi also had type 1 diabetes (T1D), and we were the same age. Had I been the one with the overnight low blood sugar, it could have been me. Had I been the one whose CGM lost battery power, it would have been my family mourning and preparing my memorial service. By Catrina Curtis (15 years old, Mississippi).
JDRF has its champions in Congress to thank for their work in helping to push us over the finish line. In particular, the co-chairs of the Senate and Congressional Diabetes Caucuses have spearheaded efforts that have resulted in unprecedented support among their colleagues for the T1D community. Their efforts have helped us achieve some crucial goals. These achievements bring us closer to providing better treatments, prevention, and ultimately a cure for T1D.
In this article, we focus on the Senate Diabetes Caucus co-chairs, and two of JDRF’s most committed and effective supporters: Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
JDRF has its champions in Congress to thank for their work in helping us to cross the finish line. In particular, the co-chairs of the Senate and Congressional Diabetes Caucuses have spearheaded efforts that have resulted in unprecedented support among their colleagues for the T1D community. Their efforts have helped us achieve some critical goals. These achievements bring us closer to providing better treatments, prevention, and ultimately a cure for T1D.
In this article, we focus on the Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chairs, two of JDRF’s biggest champions: Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado and Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky.