Cassandra Freeland of Columbus, Ohio, knows how to connect with policy makers.
“People of power remember your personal stories,” she said. “Advocacy is about relationships, telling stories and coming together for group action.”
Freeland, whose son has T1D, speaks from experience. She’s a former lobbyist who has worked for organizations such as the Ohio Education Association.
Given her professional background, it came as no surprise that Freeland, who started volunteering for JDRF shortly after her son was diagnosed in 2016, was tapped to head up the Central Ohio Chapter’s advocacy efforts.
Today, Freeland leads the Central Ohio Chapter’s advocacy efforts, including organizing the Promise Meetings. She has visited Capitol Hill twice to advocate on behalf of JDRF.
“People living with T1D have great tools that make managing their T1D much easier,” Freeland said. “How did we get those things? Yes, because of research and development, but also because families and people living with T1D demanded them.”
During Freeland’s visits to DC, she has met with several Members of Congress—including U.S. Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3rd) and Steve Stivers (R-OH-15th)—to advocate for continued Federal research funding for T1D, and legislation and policies that support affordability, choice, and coverage of T1D management tools.
“These Members are willing to consider and support my asks on the spot because they remember that I had previously come to see them with my son and other advocates,” she said.
She also secured meetings with three of four Northeast Ohio congressional offices. All signed a letter supporting funding for the Special Diabetes Program.
“This is a way for me to use my skills to give back,” she said.
Learn more about our Advocacy Agenda and find out how you can become a JDRF advocate!