My Sweet Sixteen on Capitol Hill

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T1D won’t take a break on my birthday, so why should I take a break from being an advocate for the cure?

Catrina CurtisBy Catrina Curtis
(15 years old, Mississippi)

Birthdays are the one day of the year when everything is about you. You can get away with being completely selfish, and you can get anything you want with the infamous, “It’s my birthday, so you have to do what I say.” But one of the most important birthdays is your Sweet Sixteen. It marks the beginning of driving, a job, and more freedom. July 8, 2013, is my Sweet Sixteen, and while most kids celebrate their birthday with a huge party and a new car, I’ll be celebrating mine by speaking with many political adults in business suits. This may sound like a complete bore, but I could not be more excited about this opportunity!

Being a delegate for JDRF 2013 Children’s Congress means so much more to me than just the chance to talk to Members of Congress. This is my opportunity to represent not only my state but also the face of type 1 diabetes (T1D). I want to show that T1D affects real people and real teenagers—just like me. By spending my birthday advocating continued research for a cure, I am paving the way so that I and everyone else living with T1D will never have to spend another birthday with this disease. By sacrificing my special day, I am working toward a future in which no one has to count carbs and bolus for their birthday cake. I am hoping for a future in which everyone knows that this birthday won’t be their last, because there will be no more complications of T1D to stop them.

I am so adamant about finding a cure because T1D affects every single moment of my life. T1D won’t take a break on my birthday, so why should I take a break from being an advocate for the cure? Every day of our lives should be spent doing what we love and preparing a better future for ourselves and those who will come after us. I choose to spend my special day, my Sweet Sixteen, sharing on Capitol Hill so that no one else will ever have to face another birthday with T1D.

You can learn more about Catrina by visting her Children’s Congress Delegate page or personal blog, Pink Pump and Finger Pricks.