OAKLEY — A 16-year-old Oakley boy was chosen to represent Idaho at a diabetes research organization’s children’s congress in Washington, D.C.
Connor Hitt was selected by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research, as a youth delegate at JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress on July 8 – 10.
The delegates will lobby members of Congress to remind them of the vital need to continue supporting T1D research to reduce the disease’s burden and find a cure, according to a press release sent by the organization.
Connor was the only delegate from Idaho chosen.
“I am so excited to be a part of the JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress delegation and to share my family’s story with people who can make a huge impact on T1D research,” said Connor Hitt, in the release. “I am excited to meet with representatives and discuss problems our diabetic youth face. I am honored to represent the state of Idaho.”
Lisa Hitt, Connor’s mother, said Thursday that he applied as a delegate two years ago and was not chosen.
“He was really excited when he was chosen because this was his last opportunity to qualify for it,” Hitt said.
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The “intensive application process” included writing essays and letters to state representatives.
During the event Connor will meet with Idaho’s congressional delegation to discuss type 1 diabetes research, how the disease has impacted his life and what he hopes research will accomplish, Hitt said.
“His focus will be the stories surrounding his diagnosis and how it impacted him and what he wants research to accomplish in the future,” Hitt said.
The children are ages 4 to 17 and represent all 50 states. They will participate in activities on the Hill and attend a congressional committee hearing to share testimonies that highlight the challenges of living with the disease.
There will be five international delegates from Australia, Israel, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada and together with the U.S. delegates will convey a message to the U.S. government that the problem is global and requires worldwide effort, the press release said.
“Every day these children and their parents face the burden of type-one diabetes and by sharing their stories they become powerful advocates in the fight to end this disease,” said Michael Somers, executive director for the JDRF Mountain Valley Chapter. “The delegates are a representation of millions of other families, including mine, who need the support of the government. Children’s Congress gives the T1D youth community a unified voice in front of Congress and a way to urge our government leaders to continue supporting research.”