Every two years, more than 160 children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) gather in Washington, D.C., to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The delegates in JDRF’s Children’s Congress enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help Members of Congress understand what life with T1D is like and why research to fund life-changing therapies until a cure can be found is so critical. They speak up on behalf of the millions of people living with T1D and the families and friends who love them.
The Nevada Chapter is excited to announce that Ashby Bellows and Charley Bell have been chosen to represent Nevada in Washington, D.C from July 8-10, 2019. Here’s a short introduction to our 2019 Children’s Congress Delegates.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
Ashby: My name is Ashby, and I’m a fifteen year old freshman, loving high school. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was almost 11 years old; 10.9 years old to be exact! My mom knew something was wrong when I complained of blurred vision, extreme thirst, always going to the bathroom, and having no energy. Since leaving the hospital, I have never let T1D slow me down. I love sports and I enjoy playing high school soccer, basketball and running track. I also love to sing and perform and I am very active in my local church. I have three younger brothers and two great parents who all support me with this trial.
Sadly, my family members are not strangers to T1D. My grandma, great-grandma, uncles and cousin all live with T1D and are amazing role models to me.
Charley: My name is Charley Bell. I’m an only child and I’m 13, turning 14 this year. I’m going to be in the 9th grade this fall. I play tennis. I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 8 years old. Before I was diagnosed, I drank lots of water and went to the bathroom a lot. While at a regular doctor visit, my mom told the doctor about what was going on with me. They performed a urine test and I was sent directly to the ER.
Share with us a little about the activities you and your family have been involved in with JDRF.
Charley: I am a Youth Ambassador for JDRF. This means I participate in activities which include the JDRF One Walk and the Hope Gala, as well as the TypeOneNation Summit. My reason to participate in these events is to inform others about type 1 and what living with type 1 diabetes is like. This also supports and encourages contributions from the community for further research to make Type One Type None.
Ashby: We have been involved with JDRF since I was diagnosed. In 2017, my club soccer team raised over $10,000 for the JDRF One Walk under the team name “T1Ds Wear Cleats.” We even had the opportunity to be featured on a local news segment educating people about type 1 diabetes and the importance of finding a cure. We also love attending the JDRF Vision Gala every year and being involved in the Youth Ambassador Program.
Why did you apply for Children’s Congress?
Ashby: I applied for Children’s Congress because I am very passionate about educating people on what type 1 diabetes is, what life is like for people who have it, and why it is important to find a cure.
Charley: I wanted to have the opportunity to share my experience about living with type 1 to encourage our government representatives to support health care coverage that will make living with type 1 diabetes more manageable.
What does it mean to you to represent the Nevada Chapter at the 2019 Children’s Congress?
Charley: Having lived in Nevada my whole life, I’m excited to represent the state at our nation’s capital.
Ashby: As a sixth generation Nevadan, I am extremely excited and honored to represent Nevada at the Children’s Congress! I am so grateful for the opportunity to spread awareness and educate others about type 1 diabetes.
You will have the opportunity to share your personal story with our Nevada elected officials. What do you want them to know about living with type 1 diabetes?
Ashby: I would like our Nevada elected officials to know that living with type 1 diabetes is a constant battle, and the best thing anyone can do to help support those with T1D is to be educated about the disease. I also want those officials to know how important it is for Congress to provide funding to find a cure for this disease!
Charley: I want them to know that it’s hard, day in and day out, and the medical supplies I need to take care of myself are very expensive. I want them to know that throughout my day I have to stop to take care of myself, unlike other kids my age, and that anything they can do to help make my life better and others living with type 1 diabetes better would be amazing!
What are you most excited about for your trip with Washington DC?
Charley: I am excited to meet the other delegates and to see everything in Washington DC. I hope to see the White House!
Ashby: I am very excited to meet kids just like me, as well be a part of the solution for spreading awareness and eventually curing type 1 diabetes.
Ashby and Charley will be asked to make local media appearances, complete tasks relating to JDRF Children’s Congress before, during and after the event, interact with other Delegates, visit Capitol Hill to meet with national lawmakers and staff, and spread JDRF’s mission of creating a world without type 1 diabetes. We look forward to sharing more about their experience attending the 2019 Children’s Congress.