The JDRF Children’s Congress is one week away. On July 8th I will be in Washington D.C. with 150 other kids who like me have T1D (Type 1 diabetes). I can’t wait to have the opportunity to speak with members of Congress and remind them how important it is to continue funding for T1D research. It is so important that Congress renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) this year. Technically the program doesn’t expire until 2014 but it is vital that scientist doing research right now know that funding will continue to be there. With uncertainty over funding, potential research advances or clinical trials might be put on hold, which would be devastating.
JDRF is a driving force behind advocating for SDP’s renewal as well as funding for T1D research. Because of JDRF and the SDP, millions like me currently living with T1D are living healthier lives than in the past. When my grandfather was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 17, there was very little known about how to manage the disease in order to prevent major complications. Insulin pumps had not been invented yet and the idea of a cure was unthinkable. It was so hard and scary for me to see my grandfather suffer from complications of T1D: nerve damage, loss of vision, heart problems, having his leg amputated and ultimately kidney failure. I am not fortunate to have diabetes; however, I am fortunate to be living in a time of great discovery. Because of all the research that has been done I have the tools to live a healthier life until a cure is found. From research, I know the need to balance carbohydrates and insulin, I know tighter glucose control means a decreased chance of complications, and I have an insulin pump that allows me to have tight glucose control. The SDP continues to provide funding for so much promising research. Scientists are now understanding so much more about the immune system and how it plays a role in T1D. This will not only benefit people with T1D but anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease.
Our job as delegates of the JDRF Children’s Congress is so important. We have to share our stories and our hope with Congress so they can see how we have benefited from research and how research will continue to improve our health. Research will find a cure. How awesome it will be to say someday, “I used to have diabetes!”
Hello! My name is Adam and I will be a junior in high school this fall. I am vice president of our student body, active in many groups at school, play tennis, swim, volunteer at my church and I am passionate about protecting our environment. I also have type one diabetes.