Today’s guest blog features a Q&A from JDRF with Aidan Sullivan, a 13-year-old JDRF delegate from Indianapolis, Indiana.
From July 13-15, 163 delegates from all 50 states and seven countries descended on Washington, D.C., for the JDRF 2015 Children’s Congress. As JDRF Chief Mission Officer Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., wrote on this blog a few days ago, the delegates went to Capitol Hill to meet with their representatives to advocate for continued federal funding for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.
We caught up with one of the delegates, 13-year-old Aidan Sullivan, from Indianapolis, Indiana, to ask him a few questions about the experience.
JDRF: Aidan, when were you first diagnosed with T1D?
Aidan: I was diagnosed in June 2004 when I was two years old. Like many people who don’t know they have T1D, I was constantly thirsty. When I was finally diagnosed, my blood sugar was over 1,000.
JDRF: What can Children’s Congress delegates expect from participating?
Aidan: Delegates can expect to learn that their voices actually do matter even though they’re each only one person. I met with Senator Joe Donnelly and Representative Susan Brooks, and they listened to us talk about what life with T1D is like and why we need more funding. I told them why it’s so important that Medicare cover continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), especially because older people with diabetes can’t always feel when their blood sugar is low. Everyone’s voice is important.
JDRF: Did anyone at JDRF Children’s Congress have a big impact on you or inspire you?
Aidan: I am very inspired by Sean Busby. [Ed. Sean is a professional snowboarder and participated in the Role Model Town Hall] I’m a snowboarder, and I am amazed at how together Sean has his T1D. He doesn’t let it stop him from achieving his dreams.
JDRF: What is something you learned from the delegates and the role models?
Aidan: I learned that I do not have to be insecure about having T1D. I don’t have to hide when I check my blood sugar or use my insulin pump. T1D is nothing to be ashamed of.
JDRF: Is there anything else you want to add?
Aidan: I love Lilly! Their insulin works great, and they’re so supportive of the community in Indiana and JDRF and the diabetes community everywhere.
A huge thanks to Aidan for serving as a JDRF Children’s Congress Delegate and sharing his experience. You can read more about JDRF Children’s Congress at cc.jdrf.org.
As Aidan mentions above, every person’s voice is important. Join Aidan and sign up to be an advocate and show your commitment to continuation of uninterrupted federal funding T1D research. By signing up, you will receive emails on different ways you can let Congress know how important treating, curing and preventing T1D is to you. Register today.