Jackson Allred, 14, and Sadie Cheloha, 15, of Omaha returned from an once-in-a-lifetime experience in the nation’s capital, where they joined nearly 160 children, ages 4 to 17, as Delegates to JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress, held July 24-26. JDRF Children’s Congress is the largest grassroots event supporting type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Jackson and Sadie were chosen through the JDRF Omaha-Council Bluffs Chapter to represent Nebraska at this biennial event, along with Delegates representing all 50 states, and JDRF’s six international affiliate countries.
In between meeting kids from around the country and celebrity role models living with T1D like professional baseball player, Cory Vaughn, and actress, Brec Bassinger, they lobbied Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse as well as Congressman Don Bacon to urge continued Federal Government support for T1D research that aims to reduce the burden of the disease and contribute to a cure.
The event culminated with a Congressional Committee hearing on July 26th, which included testimony from select Delegates as well as actor, Paul Sparks (House of Cards). These personal testimonies drew attention to the daily struggles of those living with T1D and the need for continued research funding and support, such as renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).
The Delegates also took part in T1D Role Model Town Hall in which they heard from 10 adults on how one can triumph over the burden of T1D by living a full, successful life and achieving their biggest, boldest dreams.
“This is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, both as a Type 1 Diabetic member of JDRF and lover of D.C.,” said Sadie Cheloha, JDRF Children’s Congress Nebraska Delegate.
“Children’s Congress empowered me to be an advocate for myself and all kids living with T1D. It literally has changed my life,” said Jackson Allred, JDRF Children’s Congress Nebraska Delegate.
JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress is over, but our work is not. JDRF needs your help continuing the progress our Delegates made in Washington, D.C. Sign up to become an advocate today, respond to alerts and ask your friends to do the same.