New Year, Same Promise
When I was a child, every New Year’s Day my mother offered
this prediction to her children: how we
behaved that day would set the tone for the rest of the year.
My mother hoped this pronouncement would inspire good
behavior. But fatigue from the stimulation of endless holiday gatherings, late
nights, and not enough sleep would take its toll. And so, as the holidays ended and as we began
the New Year, the day was often punctuated by crying or fighting (or both).
My mothers’ adage was not completely off, though. As the day wore on, my siblings and I began
to prepare mentally for a return to normalcy ---regular bedtimes, school,
homework and chores.
My own children are young adults now, but I still repeat my
mother’s adage to them each January 1. And, as the old year ends, and we begin a new
one, I do a mental tally of the ups and downs of the year, the joys usually
well outweighing the sorrows. I also consider
what resolutions to make for the New Year.
For the past twelve years there has been one resolution that tops my list: to do everything I can to help find a cure
for type 1 diabetes. In practice, it’s
actually not very complicated and has mostly to do with using my voice and my
power...the power of persuasion, that is.
I do this as a JDRF Government Relations Advocate.
JDRF’s Advocacy Program gives me a place to put my energy,
hopes and resolve to create a better future for my daughter, Julia, and others
living with type 1. I have never doubted
that life for people with type 1 will be improved through research to find new
therapies. Now, with the development of
the Artificial Pancreas, it feels as if this progress is quickly accelerating.
Through letters to the FDA and with visits to legislators in
the Promise to Remember Me Campaign, JDRF
advocates pressed the FDA to publish draft guidance that provides a clear and
reasonable route to make the Artificial Pancreas available to patients sooner
rather than later. With the help of four
incredibly hardworking Promise Co-chairs: Jill Geisendorfer, Mary Horn, Judy Krtek and Laurie DeSchryver, a network of other volunteer leaders, and with the help
of our very hard-working staff in DC, we are on a pace to complete a record
number of Promise to Remember Me
As of now, we have completed an impressive
292 meetings. That leaves 140 meetings
still to be scheduled---still a substantial number of meetings to get us to our
goal of 432. Promise meetings with legislators are essential to building support
for the development of the Artificial Pancreas.
They also lay the groundwork for our next “ask” in the coming year: the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program. Each Promise
meeting held is a promise of support and awareness.
Resolutions, whether made on New Year’s Day or at any time during
the year are a good thing. They
encourage us to think about what’s important, to back up our convictions with
actions, and to strive towards a goal. As JDRF Advocates, our goal is to improve life for those with type 1
diabetes. Right now this means improved
therapies like the Artificial Pancreas and to strive towards achieving our ultimate
goal: a cure for type 1 diabetes. These are not only worthy goals. They are
essential goals. We will reach them
together, lending our voices, energy, time, and talents. Signing up for a Promise meeting is your opportunity to be a part of this. These meetings are interesting, fun,
stress-free and make a powerful statement. They let your legislator know why a
cure is important, what improved therapies mean to those living with diabetes
and enlisting his or her support to make these a reality.
Please always feel free to contact me at email@example.com if I can be of help as
you continue your advocacy with JDRF.
Working together, surely a cure is in reach.
Do you have a diabetes-related New Year's resolution? Let me know in the comments below.