Laura Costik is the Advocacy Team Chair in Rochester, New York. Her family started participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes after her son was diagnosed two years ago at the age of four. She steadily became more involved with JDRF until she was approached to take the Advocacy Team Chair position in the spring. She stresses the ease of getting involved with JDRF Advocacy, saying, “I know very little about advocacy (and I’m still learning), but I was eager and interested. If you’re passionate about helping people affected by T1D you can learn the rest!”
One of Laura’s proudest moments with JDRF Advocacy was when she and her husband were interviewed about parenting kids with Type 1 Diabetes. Laura mentioned her support for the Continuous Glucose Monitor bill, advocated for by JDRF, and she received an open letter of thanks from a person with type 1 diabetes who happened to be listening. Laura says, “It shows you how easy, empowering and effective advocacy can be. You just need to be aware of the issues, and take action. That might be an email, a tweet, a Facebook post, a call to your local congress person. It only take minutes, but could really make an impact.”
She says her greatest challenge as an Advocacy Team Chair has been defining advocacy and proving its importance. “I illustrate the importance with dollars,” Laura says. “For every dollar that JDRF donates to research, the Federal Government provides more than $3. Advocacy makes a HUGE difference when you’re talking about funding research. And who doesn’t want a cure?”
The most rewarding part of advocating for Laura has been the people she has met through JDRF Advocacy. “The diabetes community is full of wonderful people willing to help each other,” she says. “I have met so many fantastic people through JDRF Advocacy that I never would have known otherwise.”
Her description of JDRF Advocacy in just 6 words is: JDRF Advocacy is empowering and uplifting.