Pancreases and Politics
I’ve had the opportunity to work pretty closely with one of the world’s leaders in diabetes research over the years. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, more commonly called JDRF, has been holding the Promise to Remember Me campaign since 2000, and I have been lucky enough to take part in it.
The JDRF Promise to Remember Me campaign is an opportunity for young people living with diabetes to meet with local members of congress from their particular state. The young advocates sit down with the Representatives and Senators and explain the hardships that come with diabetes, asking to please remember them while they work on legislation in D.C. If you’re a diabetic or have someone near and dear to you that is, I HIGHLY suggest getting involved with the Promise campaign. It’s a great way to advocate for a cure, and every state in the U.S. now takes part.
This week I met with Congressman Keating (D, MA). This is my second time meeting with him during the Promise campaign, the first time being the fall semester of my senior year of high school. A few months later I started interning in his office. At my high school, if your grades made you eligible, you were offered the choice to forgo your fourth term of classes and apply for local internships in exchange for credits. For my fourth and last term of high school, I became Congressman Keating’s first high school intern, the only non-colligate intern.
It was so great to reunite with his staff; they’re truly fantastic people for making time for these Promise meetings to happen.
Congressman Keating, taking time out of his incredibly busy schedule, is one of the most important voices supporting legislation for diabetes research. We sit around a table discussing how long we have had diabetes and what a cure for diabetes would mean to us. I’m always amazed hearing the stories of other advocates, especially those of younger advocates. Hearing their stories of how they still get to be kids despite diabetes not only shows me how strong they are, but how strong I was and still am.
Any meeting I’ve attended has taught me so much and restores my sense of hope. The best part of each Promise meeting is being able to meet other diabetics. Yesterday the ages ranged from two years old to fifty years old, and each and every one of them are smart, courageous and some of the strongest people I know.
Congressman Keating, thank you for being our voice in Washington D.C.
(Below, the top photo is from 2011, the bottom is most recent from 2013)
Both photos taken by my good friend, Moira