The following is a blog from Sarah Horn, the 2013 Children’s Congress delegate for JDRF Greater Iowa chapter. Participants in Children’s Congress visit Washington D.C. to testify before Congress on the importance of type 1 diabetes research funding. Learn more here.
Day 3 of Children’s Congress was incredibly busy! Even though the other days were lots of fun, this was probably the most important day of Children’s Congress because it was the day that we were meeting with our Members of Congress and attending a Senate Hearing about T1D. We needed to tell our Members of Congress about our lives with T1D and to ask them for their support for the Special Diabetes Program to continue research so we can find a cure.
First I met with Representative Tom Latham. Even though I met with him once before at a Promise to Remember Me meeting, I was really nervous. I thought I didn’t practice enough, but it worked out. He listened to me tell my story and said that he would do what he could to help us out. He even tweeted about me! That was pretty exciting.
My second meeting was with Senator Chuck Grassley. The delegate from the Eastern Iowa chapter, James Cravero, and his mom joined my family at this meeting. Senator Grassley wasn’t there at first, so we talked to his Health Director, Rodney Whitlock. He took lots of notes about what our lives were like and why the Special Diabetes Program was important. When Senator Grassley arrived, we showed him our scrapbooks quickly because he had to go to a vote.
Our last meeting was with Senator Harkin. Because Senator Harkin was at the Capitol and we were in the Senate building, his staff brought us to the meeting on the special subway for the Members of Congress and their guests. We showed him our scrapbooks and told him our stories and how we needed his help for more research. He was surprised that some devices are being sold in Europe for people with T1D but aren’t here yet. He’s going to try to make it easier for us. He wrote about James and I on his Facebook page.
After that meeting we rushed back to the Senate building for a special photo with Vice President Biden. Then we went to a hearing about the importance of the Special Diabetes Program funding where Quinn, the delegate from Maine, spoke for all of us. Jean Smart (an actress), Ray Allen (player for the Miami Heat) and his son Walker, Jeffrey Brewer (JDRF CEO) and Dr. Rodgers from the NIH all testified. By the time the hearing was over, I was exhausted!
Children’s Congress was a great experience for me because I empowered me to tell people about how important research is for T1D. Even though we are kids, we have a voice and we should let people know what we think. It was also great to meet so many other kids who won’t let T1D slow them down.