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JDF Washington Report
Volume III, No. 14
May 11, 2000

Juvenile Diabetes Resolution Introduced on House Floor

Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced H. Con. Res. 312 yesterday that supports the funding recommendations of the Diabetes Research Working Group (DRWG) and cites JDF’s commitment to funding research to find a cure for diabetes. Houston-area Representatives Bill Archer (R-TX) and Ken Bentsen (D-TX) were original cosponsors of the bill. Rep. Green credits JDF volunteers and the JDF Promise to Remember Me Campaign 2000 for his new interest in Type 1 diabetes. Rep. Green hosted a town hall meeting and the Balthazar family of Houston attended. After discussing federal funding for diabetes research, Rep. Green continued his efforts and hosted a Roundtable panel discussion in Houston April 27 with JDF, Texas Children’s Hospital and patient families.

H. Con. Res 312:

Whereas, over one million Americans suffer from juvenile (Type I) diabetes, a chronic, genetically determined, debilitating disease affecting every organ system;

Whereas 13,000 children a year - 35 each day - are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes;

Whereas 17,000 adults a year - 46 each day - are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes;

Whereas juvenile diabetes is one of the most costly chronic diseases of childhood;

Whereas insulin treats but does not cure this potentially deadly disease and does not prevent the complications of diabetes, which include blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage, and amputations;

Whereas the Diabetes Research Working Group, a non-partisan advisory board established to advise Congress, has called for an accelerated and expanded diabetes research program at the National Institutes of Health and has recommended $4.1 billion in Federal funding for diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health over the next five years; and

Whereas a strong public-private partnership to fund juvenile diabetes exists between the Federal Government and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, a foundation which has awarded more than $326 million for diabetes research since 1970 and will give $100 million in fiscal year 2001:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring) That Federal funding for diabetes research should be increased in accordance with the recommendations of the Diabetes Working Group so that a cure for juvenile diabetes can be found.

Rep. Green offered the following comments upon introduction:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of a resolution I have introduced today with Congressman Bill Archer and Congressman Ken Bentsen, both fellow Texans, to express the Sense of the House that funding for Juvenile Diabetes should be increased. On April 27 we held a Juvenile Diabetes forum at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas.

At this forum, graciously sponsored by Texas Children's Hospital President and CEO Mark A. Wallace, we heard from Richard Furlanetto, Scientific Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Dr. Ralph Feigin, President of the Baylor College of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief, Texas Children's Hospital, who shared with us some of the recent advances in treating Juvenile Diabetes. At Texas Children's Hospital and at Baylor, researchers are involved in promising studies into the complications of diabetes, glucose metabolism and insulin secretion.

Dr. Morey Haymond, a pediatrician who is much beloved by his small patients and their parents, spoke on the day-to-day concerns associated with Juvenile Diabetes and the need to increase funding for research. Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Ross Cooley updated the group on Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's fund-raising activities, and also shared his own experiences with a daughter who suffers from the disease. Jane Adams, Associate Director for Government Relations of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation provided an update on the group's legislative agenda and the need for grassroots advocacy. Perhaps most compelling was the testimony of the families who attended the event. Molly Naylor of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in Houston, who has been a tireless advocate for children and their families, shared the stories of her family and others and the difficulties they face in dealing with this disease. Mary Kay Cottingham, accompanied by her guide dog, spoke on losing her sight as well as the organ transplants she has undergone - all due to Juvenile Diabetes.

When Larry and Leslie Balthazar shared their personal story of discovering that Larry Junior, at two years old, had been diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes there was not a dry eye in the house. These parents' love and worry for their child was so compelling and powerful that every person in the room was motivated to do whatever they could to eradicate this terrible disease. The resolution I am introducing today stems from that event. We need to do more to cure Juvenile Diabetes. We have the resources, we have the technical expertise, and we are five years away from finding a cure. Our resolution concisely outlines the problem and the solution: Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution. As the world's most prosperous and powerful nation we should be directing our resources to research and development. We should be investing in finding a cure for diabetes - Larry Balthazar Junior, and thousands of children like him, deserve no less.

Minnesota Lawmakers Reject Bid for State Funded Diabetes Research

While Minnesota lawmakers, during the final hours of debate, rejected a bid for $10 million to fund Type 1 diabetes research at the University of Minnesota, we want to recognize the incredible efforts of JDF Minnesota volunteers and those of you from out-of-state who helped by writing letters and calling on their behalf. This particular funding battle was not successful, but the effort was certainly not in vain. In particular, the efforts of JDF volunteers Pam Sagan and Dianne Lefty and Minnesota Representative Henry Todd Van Dellen, who sponsored the legislation, should be applauded. Their team in Minnesota made up of JDF volunteers, patients and families, University employees, researchers and physicians and many, many others helped to draw attention to the need for increased funding for diabetes research. Each lawmaker, including the Governor, is now aware of the devastation of Type 1 diabetes and the uncertainty of a patient’s future. The volunteer advocacy helped to secure a commitment that will hopefully continue until a cure is found.

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - Government Relations
1400 I Street, NW #500
Washington, DC 20005
1-800-JDF-1VOTE ex. 5 (800-533-1868)

Posted 14 May 2000

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