Two Alabama teens to lobby Congress for juvenile diabetes research


Two Alabama teens have been selected to be part of a delegation to Washington, D.C. this month to lobby support for juvenile diabetes type 1 research (T1D).

Fernando, 13, from Birmingham and Lily, 15, from Montgomery will be part of the 2017 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Children’s Congress from July 24-26.

2017_Fernando_AL_13Fernando is an honor roll student who likes football and track, who was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12.

Fernando raises awareness by speaking to his classmates and teammates about what it’s like to have T1D. He says, “I hope that, in the near future, a researcher can find a way to get rid of this disease, so that kids like me can only have to play sports and study.”

Diagnosed at age 6, Lily loves all kinds of art: painting, sketching and digital art. Someday she would like to be a veterinarian.

2017_W_Lily_AL_15“With continued funding and support from Congress, JDRF can continue to research new technologies to make caring for diabetes easier,” Lily said. “My dream is that every person living with type 1 diabetes is allowed the opportunities that I have had to live life to the fullest until a cure is found.”

Fernando and Lily will join other children-ages 4 to 17, representing all 50 states. They will participate in a number of activities on the Hill, including a Congressional Committee hearing to share personal testimonies that highlights the daily struggles of living with T1D and the need for continued funding for the research projects such as the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).

 “These children and their parents face the burden of type one diabetes every day, and by sharing their stories, they become the most powerful advocates we have in fighting type one diabetes. They represent millions of other families like mine who need the support of the government to help us end this disease,” said Derek Rapp, JDRF President and CEO. “Children’s Congress gives the T1D community a unified voice in front of Congress and a way to urge our government leaders to continue supporting research.”

Watch Fernando’s Children’s Congress video below:

Watch Lilly’s Children’s Congress video below: