JDRF’s Kids For a Cure advocacy event was held from November 13- 15 in Ottawa and what an impact our youth delegates made – engaging with more than 55 Members of Parliament and Senators during 20 meetings to share their stories of what it means to live with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and advocate the federal government for support on issues impacting people living with the disease.
Every two years, JDRF sends youth who live with T1D to Ottawa to put a human face to the disease and help Parliamentarians understand just how challenging it can be. After the pandemic made our event in 2020 virtual, we were thrilled to be back in person this year. Thirty kids between the ages of 4 and 17 were selected to be delegates out of over 150 applications.
Kids For a Cure – in the community
Collectively, they held 25 meetings, and made 21 commitments to send a letter to the Minister of Finance, while also having the chance to meet with other youth living with type 1 diabetes. This is a powerful aspect of this event, as many of our youth advocates live in communities where they are the only young person they know who has T1D. Kids For a Cure is not just about telling stories, but also about garnering government support for issues affecting the T1D community. The delegates made the following pre-budget recommendations to the government officials who they met with:
Our Kids For a Cure co-chairs 15-year-old Caleah of Brossard QC and Vanessa, 16-years-old and from Dieppe, NB spoke about what the event meant to them:
“I wanted to co-chair Kids For a Cure because it’s an event that allows kids with diabetes to have a voice. This is an important event because it helps to raise awareness among Canadian MP’s and senators about T1D and the importance of their help. I think it also has a greater impact, since we are the young people who are going to talk to them about it. Kids For a Cure is also a place where you can connect with the diabetes community across Canada.”
“Kids For a Cure to me was an empowering experience. Speaking our voice to make a difference and seeing the responsiveness of Senators, Ministers and MPs on Ottawa parliament hill was really inspiring. It was a privilege and an experience that I will never forget!”
Hearing from our youth delegates deeply resonated with the politician who they met with as well:
“It was a great pleasure to welcome JDRF and their youth delegates to Ottawa for their awareness campaign, Kids for a Cure. Youth delegates from across Canada living with type 1 diabetes had the opportunity to meet with MPs to share their stories and the reality of their condition.
I want to congratulate JDRF on their tireless hard work in research to improve the quality of life for those living with diabetes. As Co-Chair of the All-Party Caucus on Juvenile Diabetes, I know how important the partnership between the government and JDRF is in the fight to eradicate type 1 diabetes. JDRF and Canadians living with type 1 diabetes can always count me to be an ally.”
– Marie-France Lalonde, MP Orléans
“It was my pleasure to welcome and meet kids with Type 1 diabetes and their parents to Ottawa for the special JDFR events. I got to know kids from coast to coast and learned about why it’s so important for our federal government to invest funds into research with JDRF. Let’s make Type 1 Type None!”
– The Honourable Nancy Hartling, Senator (New Brunswick)
“I was excited to meet with the inspiring children ambassadors from JDRF Canada. Their advocacy and determination have made a positive difference for thousands of Canadians living with Type 1 Diabetes. The renewal of the Partnership to Defeat Diabetes and the release of the first of its kind Framework for Diabetes in Canada are critical steps forward in our government’s efforts to better recognize, collaborate with, and support those living with diabetes in Canada. To all the children I had the opportunity to meet, I commend your dedication and thank you for our leadership!”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
A huge THANK YOU to all our Kids For a Cure youth delegates. JDRF is extremely fortunate to have a group of young advocates who speak so powerfully and persuasively about life with T1D. Thank you as well to the parents, for volunteering while supporting their children as they made their collective voices heard. Our Kids For a Cure delegates undoubtedly made real and lasting impact on the politicians they met over the course of the event, and this will benefit all Canadians living with type 1 diabetes.
Thank you as well to our sponsors: