Most teens’ summer plans include a job, camp or family vacation.
Cameron Hall, of Liberty Twp., is going to talk to the U.S. Congress.
The 15-year-old Lakota East student was selected by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) among 1,500 applicants to represent southwest Ohio in Washington, D.C., July 13-15 as part of JDRF’s Children’s Congress.
Cameron will join 160 other children from around the country and six from overseas to visit Capitol Hill. There they’ll remind lawmakers that Type 1 Diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.
Delegates to JDRF’s Children’s Congress consists of children ages 4-17 representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, plus six international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Being chosen to represent the region is “just an incredible feeling,” Cameron said.
“There were so many people (who applied) that I really didn’t think I’d be picked,” he said. “It’s a big honor.”
Cameron became a youth ambassador with JDRF in 2010 after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas.
”A lot of people don’t really understand what children with diabetes have go through every day,” Cameron said. “It affects my entire daily routine, but not only mine, but my entire family’s. It’s really a group effort. I have to check my blood sugar repeatedly every day. I have to watch it all day. I have to drink juices or eat snacks whenever it goes too low.”
JDRF’s Children’s Congress, which is held every other summer, includes congressional visits by the delegates and a congressional committee hearing, during which selected delegates and Type 1 Diabetes celebrity advocates will testify on the need for continued funding for Type 1 Diabetes research.
“More than 30,000 people right here in Southwest Ohio alone live with this disease and JDRF is steadfast in its mission to cure Type 1 Diabetes,” said Melissa Newman, JDRF Executive Director. “Children’s Congress gives Cam and the other delegates who all live with Type 1 Diabetes one unified voice to urge Congress to support diabetes research.”
In addition to advocating for JDRF, Cam and his family have supported the organization in many other ways.
Last year, Cameron served as a chapter youth ambassador and helped build awareness of JDRF and T1D in the greater Cincinnati community. His parents, Chelcy and Kendra, are also involved, having volunteered at many local events and supporting the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Newman said.