NJ 9-year-old is in D.C. to fight for diabetes funding
A 9-year-old from Matawan is about help teach members of Congress a lesson.
John Gallagher, living with type 1 diabetes for the past two years, is among a group of kids scheduled to speak face-to-face Wednesday with top decision-makers in the U.S. government about what it's like to live with T1D and why research to fund life-changing therapies is so critical.
This visit marks the 20th anniversary of the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Children's Congress.
"We need the Special Diabetes Program, which funds diabetes research," Gallagher told New Jersey 101.5. "A five-year renewal of the SDP will help this research continue."
The program, doling out $150 annually for Type 1 diabetes research at the National Institute of Health, was most recently renewed by Congress in February 2018 and is set to expire on Sept. 30.
"I feel good that I'm educating people that are older than me about something that I have," Gallagher said.
U.S. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., are among the lawmakers scheduled to hear from the Children's Congress.
Gallagher, who enters fourth grade in September, needs an insulin shot anytime he eats or drinks. At age 7, his family noticed there was an issue when he was drinking lots of water and losing weight.
Gallagher said as part of ongoing critical research, researchers are attempting to rebuild beta cells that produce and release insulin.
"They're trying to rebuild those inside a lab and then transfer them into my pancreas, which is what does not work," he said.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.