JDRF Canada to Send Delegate to Washington, D.C. for JDRF 2013 Children's Congress
Child from Halifax, Nova Scotia will join American counterparts to advocate for type 1 diabetes research
Toronto, Canada, 24, April, 2013 – Megan Beamish, age 14, will represent Canada as one of six delegates from around the world selected to attend the JDRF 2013 Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C., United States, from July 8 to 10, 2013. Megan, selected by JDRF’s Canadian affiliate, will join 150 delegates from all over the United States to convey a clear message to the U.S. government that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a global problem requiring a united effort.
Megan has long been an activist for diabetes research and has participated in other JDRF events in Canada. She and the other international delegates will travel to Washington, D.C. not only as representatives for children with diabetes in their respective countries, but for all children around the world affected by the disease. Joining Megan in Washington, D.C. will be other JDRF Children’s Congress international delegates from Australia, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.
Affecting over 300,000 Canadians, T1D can occur at any age, leaving children and adults dependent on injected or pumped insulin for life. The number of people living with T1D is increasing by three to five percent annually - the greatest rise being in children aged five to nine years.
Megan was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 10 years old. For Megan and her family, managing diabetes is a daily struggle to maintain balance through frequent blood sugar checks and regular administration of insulin.
“The day I was diagnosed with T1D is a day I will never forget. One that has affected the choices I make, the effort I put into what I want to achieve and my determination that diabetes will be cured. Participating in Children’s Congress and being part of an international united voice in search for a cure is an opportunity of a lifetime. Diabetes has no boundaries and requires a global effort to find a cure for this disease,” said Megan.
While in Washington, D.C., Megan will be paired with a “buddy” from among the U.S. delegates. These children will be given a valuable opportunity to learn first-hand from each other about advocacy efforts in the other’s country. Their networking and learning experience at Children’s Congress will be beneficial in implementing future advocacy programs in Canada.
The event, held every other summer, will once again be led by JDRF International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, and will include congressional visits by the delegates and a Senate hearing during which Ms. Moore, select delegates, researchers, and community leaders will testify on the need for continued funding for T1D 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 the disease, and the importance of supporting and funding research to reduce the burden of living with T1D until a cure becomes available.
Children’s Congress is the largest media and grassroots advocacy event held in support of finding better treatments and a cure for T1D. The newly-selected delegates will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in raising national awareness for T1D and participating in personal advocacy at the highest level of the United States government.
About Children’s Congress
The JDRF Children’s Congress program was inspired by then eight-year-old Tommy Solo from Massachusetts in 1999. He overheard adult JDRF volunteers talking about going to Washington, D.C. to talk to Congress, and thought it would be great if children could go, too, because their voice also needed to be heard. Children’s Congress inspires lawmakers to remember the children who live with T1D when making decisions about medical research and voting on other important federal issues relating to diabetes. The young delegates’ stories, told in their own words, are often more powerful than almost any other type of legislator education.
The idea quickly became a well-developed event, first held in 1999. Since then, seven successful Children’s Congresses have occurred, growing in sophistication, one every other year (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011).
Today, Children’s Congress brings 150 children with T1D, and one parent or guardian each, to Washington, D.C. Children’s Congress participants represent all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and several countries around the world. They come together as advocates to meet on Capitol Hill with Members of Congress and other key federal policymakers, to help educate them about the critical need for federal funding of T1D research.
To learn more about JDRF Children’s Congress, please visit our website at http://cc.jdrf.org/.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.
As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $530 million in scientific research in 17 countries. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research. In 2012 Forbes magazine named JDRF one of its five All-Star charities, citing the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.
For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.