Owensboro 11-year-old to lobby for diabetes research funding

Photo submitted Macy Roberts of Owensboro will attend the JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C. on July 8-11. Roberts will join dozens of other children from across the United States and five international students in lobbying for continued funding of Type 1 diabetes research.

Since its creation in 1999, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress has journeyed to Washington, D.C. every two years to lobby Congress for Type 1 diabetes research.

This year, the state of Kentucky will be represented by 11-year-old Owensboro native Macy Roberts.

"I am so excited to be a part of the JDRF 2019 Children's Congress and to share my story with people who can make a huge impact on Type 1 diabetes," Roberts said in a press release from JDRF. "My family and I look forward to going to Washington with so many other kids just like me."

Molly Roberts, Macy's mother, said Macy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in December 2015, when she was 7 years old.

"We try to live by the saying that Type 1 does not define who she is," Molly Roberts said. "With that being said, it's a 24-hour job to make sure she stays healthy."

Roberts said that Macy plays on a nationally ranked softball team, the Beverly Bandits. Roberts said that after Macy's diagnosis, they initially had to "take a step back" so that Macy's disease could be controlled.

Roberts said that Macy is hoping to meet various Washington politicians and express the need for continued Type 1 diabetes research funding.

"She wants to meet President Trump so bad," Roberts said. "She has written President Trump letters about wanting to make sure that they keep the funding for Type 1 diabetes research."

Macy will be accompanied to the Children's Congress by her father, Gavin Roberts. Roberts said that currently, $150 million is devoted each year to Type 1 diabetes research.

Roberts also said that funding for Type 1 diabetes research was renewed on Feb. 9, 2018. Currently, the research funding is set to expire in September.

"It always gets down to the wire and they always pass it on the night before it expires," Roberts said. "We want to keep on top of it."

Macy will not be the only delegate in the Children's Congress. According to the release, children ages 4 to 17 from all 50 states will attend the Children's Congress.

Joining the JDRF delegates will be five international delegates. These children will come from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Israel.

Lindsey Susott, development manager for JDRF's Indiana State Chapter, said the diverse representation shows how Type 1 diabetes is a wide-reaching problem that requires global attention.

"The delegates are a representation of millions of other families who need the support of the government," Susott said.

According to the release, the delegates will lobby members of Congress to advocate for continued funding for organizations like the Special Diabetes Program.

JDRF delegates will also appear before a Congressional Committee, providing personal testimonies and further expressing the need for continued research and funding.

"Every day these children and their parents face the burden of Type 1 diabetes and by sharing their stories they become powerful advocates in the fight to end this disease," Susott said.

The 2019 JDRF Children's Congress will take place July 8-10. According to the release, JDRF is the world's leading organization for funding Type 1 diabetes research, with more than $2.2 billion invested since the foundation was created in 1970.

Jack Dobbs, 270-691-7360, jdobbs@messenger-inquirer.com

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