August 1, 2011 was the start of JDRF’s Promise to Remember Me Campaign. The purpose of the “Promise Campaign” is to make sure that all of our legislators remember us and our loved ones living with diabetes when they are making important decisions that will affect anyone living with Diabetes. It is our hope that by meeting face to face with each of our congressmen and women and senators and telling them how diabetes has affected us and our families, they will be able to put a face to the disease and vote for issues that will make living with diabetes easier, healthier and safer and bring us closer to a cure.
As the advocacy team leader for our local Orange County Chapter, it is one of my responsibilities to make sure we secure appointments with both of our California Senators and all 5 Congressmen. As with the Promise Campaign, I always feel it is better to do things in person whenever possible. So my husband and I decided to have a get-together at our home, provide a simple dinner, talk about the Promise Campaign and develop a strategy to accomplish meeting with our representatives.
We sent out the invitation to the advocates from all 5 congressional districts in our area. We had 25 passionate JDRF advocates join us. We all shared our stories with each other while eating dinner. After eating and visiting, the OC’s and DOC’s very own Ninjabetic, George Simmons gave a great presentation about his journey with diabetes and why advocating for JDRF, diabetes and the DOC is so important. We then had someone from each of the 5 districts volunteer to get in touch with their congressman and get a meeting with them scheduled!
That was back in the last part of July…Today I am so happy and proud to say that the OC has the most awesome advocates around. As of this Friday we will have completed 100% of our Promise meetings, 5 for 5 for Orange County!! Each meeting was attended by awesome advocates who shared their stories of how living with diabetes has affected them and their families. They have given faces to Type 1 Diabetes and hopefully when these representatives return to DC and cast their votes on issues that affect diabetes care and cure, they will remember these awesome advocates, young and old!
One of the congressmen we met with has a friend who has some major problems because of diabetes. He “gets it”! He has seen first hand, why it is so important to find a cure. He told us that even though there is no money and things are really tough in DC, he is still going to try and get an increase in diabetes research funding next year!!
Two years ago we had a promise meeting with one of our representatives and that person lumped all diabetes into the same pot…saying that the reason for so many new cases of diabetes was because of people’s diets today….Well, this year..you could tell some serious homework had been done…When one of the children was showing how her pump worked, the congressperson shared with us how her parents have the “other kind” of diabetes! She is starting to “get it”!
If you had not had the opportunity to attend a “Promise to Remember Me” meeting, I would highly recommend that you contact your local JDRF office or me, to see how you can attend a meeting in your area. Whether or not you agree with the Congressman’s political views is not important…but building a relationship with them is. Putting a face on diabetes is the first step in getting them all to “GET IT”!!