Children's Congress marches for research funding

Published 07/11 2013 10:06PM

Updated 07/12 2013 11:42AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 150 children, representing all 50 states marched on Capitol Hill this week. They're urging lawmakers to spend money on diabetes research. Rebecca Petit followed one delegate from Illinois.

These children have a unique opportunity, three days in Washington, in an effort to win more federal funding for type 1 diabetes research. 9-year old Colin Bertrand, from Palatine, told Senator Dick Durbin (D) about the challenges of life with diabetes.

"I was diagnosed when I was 18-months old."

4-year old Klaire was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes earlier this year; the same diagnosis as her brother. Their dad, Brodie, says this new reality has made their short trip to Washington much more complicated.

"Each kid has to get tested ten times a day, times the number of, three days that we're here. It's a lot of test strips, a lot of supplies to bring with you."

Congress passed a one-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program in January. The young JDRF delegates visiting Capitol Hill this week urge lawmakers to extend the program for three more years.

"We want the members of Congress to hear what type 1 diabetes is like and to remember these children when they're making decisions that affect their lives."

It makes life harder.

"Having to stop and check my blood glucose and stop playing with friends and, you look back while I'm checking my blood glucose, and I see all my friends are having fun. I wish I could go back in. Then, if I'm low, I have to sit out and everybody's having fun. It feels unfair."

The National Institutes of Health spends $150 million each year on type 1 research. The Special Diabetes Program expires in 2014 without Congressional re authorization. Six delegates from Illinois visited our nation's capitol as part of the Children's Congress.

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