Kyler Akers Goes to Washington, D.C. as Iowa Delegate
for JDRF’s Children’s Congress 2011
12 year old Kyler Akers was one of 150 children throughout the U.S. selected to represent his state on Capitol hill the summer 2011 to remind Congress and the Administration of the critical need to find better treatments and a cure for a disease they live with every day – type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Kyler, who lives in Lone Tree, was named a delegate representing Iowa and the Eastern Iowa Chapter of JDRF in the Children’s Congress. Diagnosed at the age of 2, the day-to-day fight to stay alive is a struggle for him and his family.
These 150 kids – ages 4 to 17, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia – converged on Washinton, D.C., to talk about the challenges of living with T1D to lawmakers during the JDRF’s Children’ Congress 2011, from June 20 to 22. Joining these children in Washington, D.C. were seven international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Mexico the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The international delegates partnered with the U.S. delegates to convey a clear message to the U.S. goverment that diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.
The event, held every other summer, was led by JDRF’s International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, and included Congressional visits by the child delegates and a Senate hearing during which Ms. Moore, select delegates, researchers, and community leaders testified on the need for continued funding for T1D reserach, under the theme of “Promise to Remember Me.” This theme serveed as a powerful call to lawmakers to remember the struggle of living with T1D, and the importance of supporting and funding T1D research.
“All of the children and their families can confirm with me that type 1 diabetes tests our will and determination to live a normal life,” said Ms. Moore, who has had type 1 diabetes for about 40 years. “With JDRF’s Children’s Congress, we are able to put faces to a disease that places an enormous toll on our nation. It is also a reminder for congress that their partnership in the fight to find better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes is essential and has helped to drive research progress to date.”
Children were selected by a volunteer-led committee, and represent communities from across the nation. “The overwhelming number of applicants we continually get for Children’s Congress speaks to the event’s importance for so many children living with type 1 diabetes,” said Stefany Shaheen, this year’s Chair of JDRF’s Children’s Congress. “Choosing 150 delegates from the pool of over 1,200 applicants for this year’s Children’s Congress was a difficult and challenging process. All 1,200 who applied would havae served this role well.”
Children’s Congress, held every other year since 1999, has become the largest media and grassroots advocacy event held in support of finding better treatments and a cure for T1D. The selected delgates followed in the footstepts of their predecessors in raising national awareness for T1D and participating in personal advocacy at the highest level of the United States government.
As many as 3 million Americans may have T1D. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults – approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with T1D in the U.S.
To learn more about JDRF’s Children’s Congress, please visit our Children’s Congress web site at http://cc.jdrf.org/
To find out how to get involved in Eastern Iowa contact Mike Schrock at 319-393-3850