Five children from Georgia have been chosen by JDRF, a national nonprofit funding Type 1 diabetes research, to join a delegation of their peers and celebrity advocates in Washington this summer at JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress July 8 through 10.

M.J. Economos, 10, Ty Economos, 8, and Catelin Economos, 6, all of Brookhaven; Hayden Kirk, 16, of Atlanta; and Malakai Keita, 10, of Cartersville, along with more than 160 other children from around the U.S. will lobby their members of Congress and remind them of the vital need to support Type 1 diabetes research that could reduce the burden of this disease and ultimately find a cure.

These children — ages 4 to 17 and representing all 50 states — will participate in a number of activities on Capitol Hill, including a Congressional committee hearing to share personal testimonies that highlight the challenges of living with the disease and the need for continued funding for research projects such as the

Special Diabetes Program.

Joining the U.S. delegates will be five international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together, they will help to convey to the federal government that Type 1 diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.

“Every day these children and their parents face the burden of type one diabetes and by sharing their stories they become powerful advocates in the fight to end this disease,” Sara Orrell, executive director of JDRF’s Georgia chapter, said in a news release. “The delegates are a representation of millions of other families who need the support of the government. Children’s Congress gives the (Type 1 diabetes) youth community a unified voice in front of Congress and a way to urge our government leaders to continue supporting research.”

Said M.J. Economos, “I don’t like wearing all the medical devices, but I am very thankful for my Dexcom G6 and Omnipod. These devices allow me to better monitor my blood sugars. My mom told me that these devices would not be possible without the money and research of the JDRF.”

Serving as chair for JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will be Katama Eastman of New York, whose 15-year-old daughter, Merrill, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 15 months. Eastman is board president of the JDRF New York City/Long Island chapter. As chair of the event, she will help engage, support and energize all these delegates and their families during the advocacy efforts up on Capitol Hill.

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