Breakthrough T1D Children’s Congress Pt. 4 (Capitol Hill) – Oliver Shane 8/28/23

Hello! Welcome back to the Poetic Diabetic! Across the last few weeks, I wrote what was supposed to be a three-part series on my experience with Children’s Congress…but surprise, there’s one more part! I ended up having so much to talk about that I had to add this short addendum blog covering the afternoon of my final day!

Following the Senate hearing, the delegates split off into their state groups to meet with their respective Senators. Since Florida was one of the five most represented states, we ended up having a grand total of nine delegates in our group. All nine of us got together to plan our talking points. We had to cover three main issues, as well as have an introduction and conclusion, giving many of the delegates the opportunity to present at both meetings. First, we were off to meet Senator Marco Rubio! However, he was unable to meet with us and so the group and I met with one of his aides to discuss our talking points.

After a short break, I got going for my individual meeting with Congressman Brian Mast. He was also unable to meet with me, though I got the chance to meet with one of his aides that worked in health services. This individual meeting allowed me to go far more in depth towards the topics I was passionate about; in which I explained the issues of insulin affordability and research funding in detail.

Finally, the Southern Florida group reconvened for our meeting with Senator Rick Scott, who (per the trend of the day) was unable to meet with us. Regardless, the two aides we met with were lovely! Both had a strong understanding of the importance of insulin affordability, one even had a diabetic family member! I learned that the office of Senator Scott had plans to tour the Civica RX production facility, something I discussed at length in this article! As for the presentation, it went as smooth as butter with each of us kids chiming in at the exact right moments, and everyone getting a chance to share!

To put a bookend on this whole experience, Children’s Congress 2023 was truly amazing; an experience I am a bit sad I’ll only get to participate in once. As Senator Collins said at the hearing, “You diabetes people really do know how to lobby”. That, beyond anything else, gives me the most hope for our future. It is so inspiring that so many delegates, their family members, role models, Breakthrough T1D volunteers, and key representatives in the T1D community were all able to come together and run such a smooth lobbying campaign not just this time, but every year Children’s Congress occurs. The passion, drive, and commitment of all those involved is what will bring about a cure one day; that I am most sure of!

That’s just about all the time I have for today! Thank you so much for reading this Children’s Congress mini-series! With that being said…

See you next time, from one diabetic to another!