NEW YORK, (March 14, 2011) – Approximately 150 children and teenagers throughout the U.S., and several from around the world have been selected to travel to Washington, D.C. this summer to represent their state and country and remind Congress and the Administration of the critical need to find better treatments and a cure for a disease they live with every day— type 1 diabetes.
These children—ages 4 to 17, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia —will converge on Washington, D.C., to talk about the challenges of living with type 1 diabetes to lawmakers during the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Children’s Congress 2011, from June 20 to 22. Joining these children in Washington, D.C. will be seven international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The international delegates will partner with U.S. delegates to convey a clear message to the U.S. government that diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.
The event, held every other summer, will be led by JDRF’s International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, and will include Congressional visits by the child delegates and a Senate hearing during which Ms. Moore, select delegates, researchers and community leaders will testify on the need for continued funding for type 1 diabetes research, under the theme of “Promise to Remember Me.” This theme serves as a powerful call to lawmakers to remember the struggle of living with type 1 diabetes, and the importance of supporting and funding type 1 diabetes research.
“All of the children and their families can confirm with me that type 1 diabetes tests our will and determination to live a normal life,” said Ms. Moore, who has had type 1 diabetes for about 40 years. “With Children’s Congress, we are able to put faces to a disease that places an enormous toll on our nation. It is also a reminder for Congress that their partnership in the fight to find better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes is essential and has helped to drive research progress to date.”
This year’s Chair of JDRF’s Children’s Congress is Stefany Shaheen, daughter of New Hampshire Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, and mother of Elle, Annah, Caraline and William. Stefany’s oldest daughter, Elle, has been living with type 1 diabetes for more than three years. As Chair for Children’s Congress 2011, Stefany and Elle will help engage, support and rally the delegates and their families during the advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.
“We are honored and inspired by the opportunity to serve as Chair Family for Children’s Congress 2011. Our family understands what a difference this campaign makes by establishing and cultivating strong public-private partnerships necessary to cure, treat, and prevent type 1 diabetes,” said Ms. Shaheen. “This year’s delegates are truly an extraordinary group. Each and every one will share testimony that will help members of Congress understand why they need to ‘Promise to Remember’ all the children and families affected by this disease.”
Children were selected by a volunteer-led committee, and represent communities from across the nation. “The overwhelming number of applicants we continually get for Children’s Congress speaks to the event’s importance for so many children living with type 1 diabetes,” said Shaheen. “Choosing 150 delegates from the pool of over 1,200 applicants for this year’s Children’s Congress was a remarkably challenging process.” To learn more about JDRF’s Children’s Congress, please visit our web site at http://cc.jdrf.org/.
JDRF’s Children’s Congress, held every other year since 1999, has become the largest media and grassroots advocacy event held in support of finding better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes. The newly-selected delegates will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in raising national awareness for type 1 diabetes and participating in personal advocacy at the highest level of the United States government.
As many as 3 million Americans may have type 1 diabetes. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults -approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S.
JDRF is the worldwide leader for research to cure type 1 diabetes. It sets the global agenda for diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide.
The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump – each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its potential complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.
Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, including $107 million last year. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.org.