JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will take place from July 8-10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
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. Congratulations to our JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress Delegates from the JDRF New York City/Long Island Chapter:
Age at T1D diagnosis: 7
Marin is passionate about T1D technologies and research advancements, and helping to ensure that the T1D community has access to devices that make their lives a little easier until a cure is found. Marin is also an entrepreneur and started and trademarked an organization, Flyabetes, which is the umbrella for all of her fundraising efforts. Additionally, she and her mom founded “Comedy for a Cause”—a fundraising event in the Hamptons, where Marin helped out every step of the way, and ultimately raised $150,000 to benefit JDRF! She also enjoys mentoring newly diagnosed T1D kids, saying, “it is truly rewarding to help them navigate the challenges as I can empathize with them, and show them how fully I live my life.” Marin looks forward to bringing her passionate spirit to Children’s Congress this summer.
Age at T1D diagnosis: 15 months
Merrill is thrilled to be coming back to Washington, D.C. with her family for her second JDRF Children’s Congress. In the ten years that have passed since her first go-around as a delegate, Merrill has grown up quite a bit, but remains as committed as ever to making life better for every person affected by T1D. She loves ceramics, playing volleyball, speaking Mandarin and doing outdoor activities, like skiing and scuba diving, with her friends and family. In school, she particularly enjoys math and science. In addition to participating in the JDRF One Walk with her team Punkin’s Peeps, Merrill enjoys reaching out and connecting with newly diagnosed families and others with T1D.
Age at T1D diagnosis: 4
Sarah is a motivated young woman who seizes every opportunity to benefit her community. She stays busy outside of school through basketball, soccer, art and drama. Sarah likes to draw and make bracelets, and has even sold her artwork and jewelry to raise money for T1D research. After she was diagnosed with T1D at age 4, her family became involved with the JDRF One Walk program, and her parents and aunts raised funds for JDRF through various Team JDRF events. Sarah is excited to advocate for the T1D community at Children’s Congress because she believes “people with T1D deserve everything they need to live their lives, and improve their day-to-day experiences.
Children making history
The JDRF Children’s Congress T1D advocacy program was inspired by a boy from Massachusetts named Tommy Solo. One day, at age nine, he asked his mother, “Why can’t kids go to Washington and tell their Representatives about what it is like to have type 1 diabetes and let them know that we want scientists to find a cure?” His mom and other JDRF volunteers agreed and, in 1999, the first-ever JDRF Children’s Congress took place in Washington, D.C.
Since then, nine successful Children’s Congresses have been held, one every other year, and more than 1,000 kids with T1D have served as delegates. JDRF Children’s Congress has been essential to securing continued government funding of T1D research and to raise awareness of the daily burden of Americans living with this serious autoimmune disease.
Delegates form lifelong friendships, meet T1D role models, develop leadership skills, and leave Children’s Congress empowered to use their voices for the change that will improve their lives and the lives of all people affected by T1D.