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.
Children’s Congress delegates bring with them a particularly important message for Congress this year: we must renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). This federal program currently provides $150 million per year specifically for diabetes research to the National Institutes of Health. SDP funding has made possible some of the most important advances in T1D research in the last several years, and it is essential to maintaining our momentum in finding life-changing treatments and a cure for T1D.
Children’s Congress kicks off Monday, July 8 by making some noise on the Hill! Led by singer/songwriter and JDRF Celebrity Advocate Crystal Bowersox, the delegates will perform the Children’s Congress anthem, “Promise to Remember Me.” On Tuesday, the delegates will attend Town Hall, where they get to powwow with several other JDRF celebrity advocates—adult role models who have all lived, and succeeded, with T1D for many years.
On Wednesday, July 10, the delegates will get down to business. First, delegations from all 50 states and D.C. will meet with their Members of Congress and/or Congressional staff members, where they will discuss the issues most important to the T1D community—at the top of the list, renewing the SDP!
After their meetings, delegates will gather for a special Senate Diabetes Hearing, where both child and adult advocates will testify before a Senate panel on the urgent need to continue federal funding of T1D research. This year’s hearing will be led by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and attended by U.S. Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, the committee’s ranking member and past leader of the Children’s Congress Senate Diabetes Hearing.
We at JDRF cannot overstate the importance of this very unique event, or the crucial role these remarkable children and teens play in achieving JDRF’s ultimate mission—to find a cure for T1D.
These are days not to be missed! We urge you to stay tuned here at JDRF.org for continuing coverage of Children’s Congress. For more information on this year’s delegates, visit cc.jdrf.org.
We invited five delegates to write a very special series—the very first Children’s Congress Delegate Blog! In the weeks leading up to their trip to Washington, D.C., these delegates gave us their thoughts on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy glucose control. But most importantly, they let us know just what it means to them to be delegates of Children’s Congress 2013. Read on.
Jonathan Platt — 9 years old, California
Children’s Congress 2013 Chair Kid
Bring On Children’s Congress!
Delegate Do’s and Don’ts: How to Make the Most of Children’s Congress
Catrina Curtis — 15 years old, Mississippi
My Sweet Sixteen on Capitol Hill
My Friend, My Inspiration
Amelia Rehrman — 11 years old, Pennsylvania
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Capitol Hill Essentials
Reed Gialketsis — 17 years old, Nevada
A Numbers Game, or: We Are All Number One
Word to the Wise: A T1D Slang Dictionary
Cindy Chen — 17 years old, California
Life Under the Microscope: My Summer as a Research Intern
Letters From the Cusp of Childhood/Adulthood
The Delegates Are Coming!
MONDAY, JULY 8
An Opening Refrain Filled With Promise
Children’s Congress Photo Gallery: Monday
TUESDAY, JULY 9
The Role of a Lifetime
Partners Working Toward a Cure
Children’s Congress Photo Gallery: Tuesday
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10
Many Happy Returns
Children’s Congress Rocks Capitol Hill
Young Diabetes Advocates Take Capitol Hill by Storm
Children’s Congress Photo Gallery: Wednesday