150 Children from Across the Country Selected to Visit Washington, D.C. as Delegates for JDRF’s Children’s Congress 2009

150 Children from Across the Country Selected to Visit Washington, D.C. as Delegates for JDRF’s Children’s Congress 2009

Child Delegates to Meet Elected Officials; Some to Testify at Senate Hearing on Type 1 Diabetes and Urge Legislators to Increase Funding for Research

Joana Casas, JDRF
Ph: (212) 479-7560, E-mail: mcasas@jdrf.org

New York, NY, January 26, 2009 — Some 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 a cure for a disease they live with every day: type 1 (or juvenile) diabetes.

These children–ages 4 to 17, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and all diagnosed with type 1 diabetes–will converge on Washington, D.C., to tell their stories and urge lawmakers to help find a cure during the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Children’s Congress 2009, from June 22 to 24.  Joining these children in Washington, D.C. will be six International Delegates from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Greece and the United Kingdom, who 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 where Ms. Moore, select delegates, researchers, and business and community leaders will testify on the need for continued funding for research on diabetes and its complications.  Ms. Moore and the child delegates, under the theme of “Promise to Remember Me,” will ask Members of Congress to support an increase in federal funding for diabetes research.

“The day that you or your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is a day you will never forget,” said Ms. Moore, who has had type 1 diabetes for almost 40 years. “Members of Congress will now have the chance to give these children and their parents another day they will never forget. Instead, this time will be a day of hope instead of a day of fear.”

Cynthia Ford, of Grosse Point Farms, Michigan is Chair of Children’s Congress 2009.  Ms. Ford, her husband Edsel and son Albert, who has type 1 diabetes, serve as the designated Chair Family.

“Our entire family understands what a vital role this event plays in the furthering of our mission to cure diabetes. We are honored and excited to be leading such an extraordinary group of delegates who truly will have all the Washington leaders knowing they need to ‘Promise to Remember’ all of us who crave a true cure for diabetes and its complications.”

Over 1,500 children from all 50 states between the ages of 4 and 17 applied to take part in Children’s Congress 2009. Children were selected by committee based on the need for focus in their Congressional district and in a way that divided the group evenly by ages. “Choosing the 150 delegates from the pool of over 1,500 applicants this Children’s Congress was a difficult process and a challenge,” said Ford. “Truly, all 1,500 who applied would have served this role well.”

Children’s Congress, held every other year since 1999, has become the largest media and grassroots advocacy event held in support of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the newly-selected delegates will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in raising national awareness about type 1 diabetes and participating in personal advocacy at the highest level of United States government.   

In type 1 diabetes — the most serious and complicated form of the disease that accounts for at least $174 billion in annual health care costs in the U.S. alone — a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that enables people to get energy from food.  To survive, people with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar levels up to four or more times a day by pricking their fingers to draw  blood, and then administering  insulin through multiple, daily injections, or the use of a continuous infusion insulin pump. 

While trying to balance insulin with the amount of food eaten (which raises blood sugar) and exercise (which lowers blood sugar), people with type 1 diabetes must constantly be prepared for potential life-threatening low or high blood sugar levels.  Just as devastating, the long-term complications of diabetes include blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage and amputations.  While usually diagnosed in childhood, type 1 diabetes can also be diagnosed in adults.


About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.