What is the Promise to Remember Me Campaign?
The JDRF Promise to Remember Me Campaign asks Members of Congress to "promise to remember" those affected by diabetes when making decisions regarding diabetes research.
JDRF's Outreach Manager in Los Angeles contacted me and asked if I would meet with Congresswoman Karen Bass to ask for her support of JDRF and diabetes research as part of the Promise to Remember Me campaign.
This campaign is important as it develops the relationships between federal legislators and JDRF advocates. This year, the focus is on research for diabetes, in particular the artificial pancreas.
To learn more about the artificial pancreas, here are two great videos from CNN.
"'Bionic' Pancreas Gives Patients A Break"
"Artificial Pancreas Is A Game Changer"
The only way, as of now, to have access to the artificial pancreas is through clinical trials. Being chosen for one of these trials seems harder than winning the lottery! I have continually signed up, but to no avail. Although, the FDA is stating that this Artificial Pancreas should be available to homes in five years. A glimmer of hope! The Promise to Remember Me meetings are necessary in order to get the proper funding from the government so more people can have these types of technologies available to them. When I get to try out the Artificial Pancreas, the first thing I will do is drink a smoothie! The whole thing. And not the light kind with Splenda. As of now, I would never do that. That is unless I wanted to visit the hospital.
I felt very honored to be chosen to attend this meeting. It can feel so helpless as a person with Type 1 Diabetes just waiting for a cure or the next best technology. It is events like the Walk to Cure Diabetes and these meetings that make me feel like we can create a difference. It was meetings like these that got the contiguous glucose monitoring system on the map and I hope we can push for more technologies that will improve the lives of everyone with diabetes.
The event was very educational. I felt so insignificant in a room full of educated and important people. Yet, Congresswoman Karen Bass was personable and kind. Representing JDRF was the Outreach Manager who contacted me (Her husband is a Type 1 Diabetic), a Nurse (who also was a Type 1 Diabetes) and myself. After she spoke beautifully, there was a long line to speak with her. Once we got to the front of the line, she made us feel like we were the most important people in the room. Her eyes were full of warmth and she listened to our every word. Here is a picture of us showing her our pumps and me giving her my card for this blog.
Right after this photo, Congresswoman Bass told us that her mother had Type 1 Diabetes. As sad as it is to hear that another person has diabetes, it's also nice to know we have someone in congress who understands our struggles and is on our side.
She had agreed to support us, and that promise was captured with this photo.
The most powerful portion of the evening though was in meeting Albert (far right). He was the person who had invited JDRF to this event. Albert told us the very sad story of how his son, a type 1 diabetic, at ten years old, had passed away due to a diabetic coma. Our eyes filled with tears as he told the story. I often forget, how life can literally slip away from us so easily. He stressed the importance of taking care of ourselves and how he wanted to become very involved with JDRF in his son's memory.
There is no sorrow like the loss of a child. Any time I hear of a death due to type 1 diabetes, of course I get scared and I am reminded of how serious this disease is. In honor of Albert's son and all the others, we MUST make a different and we MUST fight.
You can help by clicking ‘Continue NIH Research like the Artificial Pancreas’, asking you to send an email to your Members of Congress and remind them of the important contributions the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) has made towards diabetes research.