Five kids from the Bay Area were chosen by JDRF to join a delegation of children and celebrity advocates in Washington, D.C. this summer at JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress from July 24-26. Avery Reller, age 11 of Palo Alto; Carter Mosher, age 17 of Atherton; Chase Urban, age 12 of Half Moon Bay; Joey Hagen, age 15 of San Francisco; and Nikhita Gopisetty, age 15 of Morgan Hill, shared a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They were among 160 children from around the U.S. who visited with their Members of Congress to remind them of the vital need to support T1D research that could reduce the burden of this disease and ultimately find a cure.
The 160 children—ages 4 to 17, and representing all 50 states— participated in a number of activities on the Hill, including a Congressional Committee hearing, sharing personal testimonies that highlight the daily struggles of living with T1D and the need for continued funding for research projects such as the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).
“These children and their parents face the burdens of type 1 diabetes every day, and by sharing their stories, they become the most powerful advocates we have in fighting type 1 diabetes. They represent millions of other families like mine who need the support of the government to help us end this disease,” said Derek Rapp, JDRF President and CEO. “Children’s Congress gives the T1D community a unified voice in Congress and a way to urge our government representatives to continue supporting research.”
Mia Mosher, mother of Delegate Carter Mosher, reflects on her experience:
“I am on the airplane home from an amazing few weeks on the East Coast and from attending JDRF Children’s Congress with Carter. You would have been so proud of our Greater Bay Area Chapter kids. There were five total, all freaking amazing—and almost all of whom have spoken at JDRF Bay Area events. No other part of the nation had the type of representation that came out of our chapter. There were 14 delegates total from California out of 160 kids. They walked into Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and Senator Kamala Harris’ office, and crushed it, speaking passionately and without any prompting or help from the adults in the room who were flies on the wall. Five-year-old Madison from Los Angeles showed them her scrapbook page of her blowing out a dandelion, and absolutely uncoached said it was her wish flower and that her wish was to have a cure to T1D. Sucked the air out of the room. A nine-year-old explained to Senator Feinstein’s health aide about the latest technology and why inhalable insulin is now becoming popular. The 14 delegates then split up to talk to their individual Representatives. Anna Eshoo gave Carter and Avery almost 1.5 hours of her time on a day crazy about health care reform and other votes. JDRF International Board of Directors President, Mark Fischer-Colbrie was able to join us. We have such a strong ally in Anna Eshoo.
To say that I was immensely proud of what comes out of our Chapter is an understatement. What we are doing does make a difference and after listening to Aaron Kowalski, the Chief Mission Officer for JDRF, there are some really amazing things on the horizon and every dollar that we raise makes a serious difference. – Mia Mosher, mother of Delegate Carter Mosher
It is such an odd feeling to walk into a ballroom full of JDRF advocates in Washington, D.C., and to already know that they are family. Each of you is a loved member of my family and I will go to the ends of the earth to help find a cure to T1D for you and your loved ones. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
About JDRF Children’s Congress
JDRF Children’s Congress 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 was important that children go, too, and make their voices heard. JDRF Children’s Congress inspires national lawmakers to remember the children who live with T1D when making decisions about medical research funding and voting on other important Federal Government issues relating to diabetes. The young Delegates’ personal stories, told in their own words, are often more powerful than almost any other type of education a legislator and staff can receive. Tommy’s idea quickly became a well-developed event, first held in 1999. Since then, JDRF Children’s Congress has occurred every other year. To learn more about JDRF Children’s Congress, please visit http://cc.jdrf.org/.