Hello. My name is Elizabeth Roosevelt. I am 12 years old and finishing up the 6th grade. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) shortly after my fifth birthday. I had been drinking lots of water and using the restroom frequently, but we had no idea what was causing me to feel so badly until we went to the doctor and they gave me the diagnosis. I was on an insulin pump for almost seven years, but last year I decided to take a break because I’m a dancer and I was having to disconnect frequently—resulting in many missed hourly basal and higher blood-sugar numbers. Today when I am not competing, I wear a CGM but still do shots.
When I attended JDRF Children’s Congress in 2009, I was fairly new to T1D. It was also my first time meeting with a Member of Congress. It was great learning about how the government works, and I even got a photo of me sitting at my Congressman’s desk. But what I loved the most was spending three days surrounded by kids just like me! I will always remember spending an evening watching a movie with three other girls my age. We all checked our blood sugars, then bolused for our snacks together—and I was just like everyone else!
JDRF Children’s Congress is important because T1D research costs a lot of money and we need the government to partner with JDRF to help continue to fund it. T1D research is what has led to the pumps we use, the CGMs we wear and the improved insulin we inject daily to stay alive! Children’s Congress teaches us kids that we have a voice, too. Just because we are little does not mean that what we have to say is not important. Our Congressmen like to listen to our stories and they want to help us—we just need to teach them the best way to do that!
My biggest advice to you for Children’s Congress is to have fun! Don’t be nervous about meeting your Members of Congress—they are very nice people just like you and me. And JDRF will teach you everything you need to know before going into the meetings so you’re well prepared. It’s also important to get to know your fellow Delegates—especially on your free night. You may even meet your new best friend! Make sure you get lots of sleep, too. You will have to get up early and you may go to bed late. And don’t skip any of the sessions because you’ll really learn so much.
After Children’s Congress, my mom and I will continue to work with JDRF Advocacy. I am so happy that my mom is chairing the event this year. I definitely have plans to attend future Promise to Remember Me and New Member meetings, too.
See you in Washington!