One day in 1999, long before our youngest was diagnosed, a little 9-year old boy named Tommy and several JDRF families gathered together to discuss the need to get the faces of T1d in front of research funding decision-makers. Those sweet faces included not only Tommy but 150 kids ages 4 to 17 and those research funding decision-makers included each state elected official in Congress. The impact was enormous as it was hard to deny the need for a cure after hearing each child's story.
Since that first meeting on Capital Hill, JDRF has been sending a fresh group of 150 children each and every single year as representatives living with type 1 diabetes from each of the 50 states, including the District of Columbia.
|My youngest applicant hopeful for Michigan JDRF Children's Congress|
Those children meet to share their personal diagnosis story, interact with lawmakers and commit to continuing on with advocacy efforts after the JDRF Children's Congress is over. The impact is long-last not only for the child living with type 1 diabetes, but for everyone who hears their story.
|My oldest applicant hopeful for Michigan JDRF Children's Congress|
Personally, after my own two children applied, I found hearing their words on the application essay to be so powerful that I was moved to tears and had to leave the room. And this is ME, the mom who has been with them from day one and feels slightly numb to most re-telling of the stories. It's THAT powerful when it comes from the voice of a child.
|Past JDRF Children's Congress Delegates from around the United States|
To complete an application for JDRF Children's Congress, please click this link.
This type of grassroots advocacy is important as much of the necessary funding to keep projects moving forward (artificial pancreas, smart insulin, encapsulation) is happening due to demonstrating the need.
To sign up to become an Advocate for JDRF, please click this link and follow the instructions on the home-page.
Even if you do not want to complete the JDRF Children's Congress application or sign up for JDRF Advocacy, you can still make a difference. Send your local JDRF chapter a quick email that says 'thank-you' for all of the hard work that they are doing. I did that today and made sure to say tell them how much I appreciate their efforts. It has been eight years in this journey and our healing threads are interwoven with every person that we have met with a T1D connection - the greatest being our friends at JDRF SE Michigan, West Michigan Chapters and Midwest Region, and our Mott Children's Hospital. Their kindness has shaped my children's belief system and we have undying HOPE for a cure.
Like Nick Jonas sang at JDRF Children's Congress one year.... a little bit longer and I'll be fine.
On behalf of all of the children, teens and adults living with type 1 diabetes, you CAN make a difference just by sharing your story.
Individually, we are small, but together we are millions of people feeling the effects of living with type 1 diabetes. It is time to get that CURE!!!
#curet1d #jdrfchildrenscongress #michigancongress #jdrfadvocacy #naturallysweetsisters