Two children from Connecticut were chosen by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leading global organization funding type one diabetes (T1D) research, to join a delegation of their peers and celebrity advocates in Washington, D.C. this summer at JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress from July 8-10. Emma DelVecchio, 15, of Orange and Logan Merwin, 12, of East Haddam will join more than 160 other children from around the U.S. to lobby their Members of Congress and remind them of the vital need to support T1D research that could reduce the burden of this disease and ultimately find a cure. These children—ages 4 to 17, and representing all 50 states—will participate in a number of activities on the Hill, including a Congressional Committee hearing to share personal testimonies that highlight the challenges of living with T1D and the need for continued funding for research projects such as the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).
Joining the U.S. Delegates will be five International Delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together, the Delegates will help to convey to the Federal Government that T1D is a global problem that requires a global effort.
“Every day these children and their parents face the burden of type one diabetes and by sharing their stories they become powerful advocates in the fight to end this disease,” said Jon Muskrat, Executive Director, JDRF Greater CT/Western MA. “The Delegates are a representation of millions of other families who need the support of the government. Children’s Congress gives the T1D youth community a unified voice in front of Congress and a way to urge our government leaders to continue supporting research.”
“Going to JDRF Children’s Congress means that I can use my voice to support research for all my friends with T1D. I’m going to talk to Congress about the Special Diabetes Project and why it should be renewed,” said Logan Merwin.
Serving as Chair for JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will be Katama Eastman of New York, NY, whose 15-year-old daughter, Merrill was diagnosed with T1D at 15 months. Eastman is Board President of the JDRF New York City/Long Island Chapter. As Chair of the event, she will help engage, support and energize all these Delegates and their families during the advocacy efforts up on Capitol Hill.
JDRF Children’s Congress was inspired by (then) eight-year-old Tommy Solo from Massachusetts, in 1999. He overheard adult JDRF volunteers talking about going to Washington, D.C. to talk to Congress and thought it was important that children go, too, and make their voices heard. JDRF Children’s Congress inspires national lawmakers to remember the children who live with T1D when making decisions about medical research funding and voting on other important Federal Government issues relating to diabetes. The young Delegates’ personal stories, told in their own words, are often more powerful than almost any other type of education a legislator and staff can receive. Tommy’s idea quickly became a well-developed event, first held in 1999. Since then, JDRF Children’s Congress has occurred every other year. To learn more about JDRF Children’s Congress, please visit http://cc.jdrf.org/