Many years ago, Cassie participated in Children's Congress. Although she was not even a kindergardener, JDRF figured she was ready to lobby for diabetes support on Capitol Hill. We wondered how could a kid barely out of diapers do any good in Washington?
Our nation's legislators and their staff have many, many, many meetings with slick corporate lobbyists and captains of industry. But here's the good news. They also make time for average American citizens like us. Voters who have genuine need for the government to step in and act on their behalf. Real people. Taking part in Children's Congress, Cassie helped to put a human face on diabetes for our Congressional representatives. They listened to what a "normal" day was like living diabetes- straight from the mouths of kids and the parents who suffer through it. The scary lows, the late night blood sugar checks and the specter of long term complications.
Cassie sat on Senator Richard Burr's lap for a photo op. After the camera flash popped she shook his hand and told him he was lucky. "Why?" he asked. "Because your sons don't have to take shots that hurt" she answered. It floored us. And I'm sure it struck him in a way that has made him a consistent supporter of diabetes legislation over the years.
Today JDRF announced that it's taking applications for the next Children's Congress that will take place next June (2011). Here's the link to the application if you think your child can help reach our representatives in DC.