2020 Kids for a Cure Home Edition Round Up

November 20, 2020

During the week of November 2nd, delegates joined JDRF for its annual Kids for a Cure Program. This year, due to COVID the event was held virtually.

Hear from some of this year’s participants:

Senator Nancy Hartling, Moncton, New Brunswick:

“Kids for a Cure was the highlight of my week. Talking to the kids and their parents and hearing their positivity gave me hope for the future and stirs me forward to keep the momentum going.

I have a personal connection to type 1 diabetes, my 8-year-old grandson who lives in BC has T1D. When I hear from the kids – I use the conversation in my speeches – it’s their voice that I want to bring forward to the government because hearing it in their words is so important.

JDRF has my commitment to write a letter to the government to support CIHR funding – our office will be doing that, and I intend to continue speaking about it.

Across the country, access to the devices that help people manage T1D is not equal and consistent. And when all families can’t access it equally – it can be a challenge to get what they need to manage their illness. It’s even more important during COVID, as this equipment can help to keep people out of the hospital.

I want to tell all the kids and JDRF to please keep up the good work. Thank you for connecting me, I have great respect for JDRF.

Youth Ambassador Co-Chair Anne Pettigrew

Age: 15

Age at Diagnosis: 11

Lives in: Etobicoke, ON

I’m a very strong-minded, take-action kind of person, and I’m used to working towards solutions to my problems in my everyday life and being able to handle most things independently. But I can’t solve the problem of having diabetes by myself. No amount of hard work or dreaming big will make that happen if it’s just me. I can’t cure type one diabetes myself, as much as I want to. But Kids for a Cure is my chance to work towards a cure with dozens of other advocates living with type one diabetes who want to get rid of type one just as much as I do. And in addition to working with the other delegates, we’re also all supported and propelled forward by JDRF. JDRF gives us the platform we need in order to have our voices heard by the right people – the people who control how much funding goes into type one diabetes research. Working with JDRF and the other delegates through Kids for a Cure gives me a chance to fight for a solution to one of the biggest, most dangerous, and most heartbreaking problems in my life. Kids for a Cure to me means a fighting chance at a better future, in a way that can actually yield results.

Doing Kids for a Cure virtually had pros and cons. It was organized flawlessly and gave us (the delegates and our families) many chances to connect and plan and prepare for our MP and Senator meetings. Additionally, doing it online meant we didn’t have to go all the way to Ottawa, so it kept our schedules freer and allowed each team of delegates to have more opportunities to meet with government officials. The only con for me was that I didn’t get to meet any of the other delegates in person.

During Kids for a Cure 2018, when we all stayed in the same hotel in Ottawa, we had an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by other type one diabetics – people who understand everything it takes to manage type one diabetes in a way that only other type one diabetes can really understand. It was very special and meaningful for me, especially because I don’t have any type one diabetics in my family or my immediate circle of friends. I don’t often get the opportunity to talk to other type ones, which is isolating for me. Doing Kids for a Cure virtually still gave delegates opportunities to connect, but there was something special about all of us being in the same room, talking and laughing and being physically all together, united by our experiences and our fight for a cure.

I hope that the JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes is renewed so that we can continue to have the funding that we so desperately need if we want to move closer to a cure to type one. I also hope that the government officials with whom we met will remember us, remember our stories, and remember type one diabetes. I hope they remember our dedication, our passion, and our drive, and how hard we’ve worked to get to where we are today. Type one diabetes takes so much – mentally, physically, and emotionally – to manage and live with. We work so hard every day just to keep ourselves going, at this point without even an end to look forward to. I hope they remember us. However, they decide to show their support for us, I want us to be remembered.”

Marie-France Lalonde, M.P. , Juvenile Diabetes Caucus Co-chair

“I would like to congratulate the JDRF and its delegates for their awareness campaign, Kids for a Cure, on juvenile diabetes. Not only was this campaign a great success with participants, it was also an opportunity for the JDRF to share its hard work in research to improve the quality of life for those living with juvenile diabetes.

The two main events of this campaign, November 2nd and 3rd, also provided an opportunity for youth delegates to engage us in meaningful interactive activities to share the reality of their condition.

This reminded me and my elected colleagues of the importance of the partnership between the government and JDRF in the fight to eradicate type 1 diabetes. I applaud the impact of such awareness campaigns. As Co-Chair of the All-Party Caucus on Juvenile Diabetes, it was a great pleasure and honor for me to participate and deliver a speech. JDRF and Canadians with juvenile diabetes can always count me to be an ally.”

Terri and Colby Ryan – Mother and son living with T1D

Age: 13

Age at diagnosis: 6

Lives in: St. Philips, NL

Terri: “This being my third time doing Kids for a Cure, it was sure different than the past.

I feel the whole atmosphere doing this in Ottawa was always amazing, and the interactions between the candidates were the best part, they got to be with so many others from all across Canada, this is where Colby and I both made amazing friends.

As for this years’ virtual Kids for a Cure, it was amazing in different ways, I believe that we had way more meetings than if we were in Ottawa, and we had great success with all our attendees making it to the meetings and I feel that we had their undivided attention. I love them interacting with the kids and asking them questions. It was a little tougher as for the internet and technology aspect but it always worked out.

While I loved all experiences we have had, I feel the better experience was the personal one in Ottawa, but as for the aspect of the MP and Senators I think they took more away from the meetings this year.

I would love to be able to do this again, it is both Colby and I passion to raise awareness.”

Colby: “First off, I have to thank everyone at JDRF for all the hard work that they do, especially to make things like kids for a cure possible. This is my third year and my favourite of all the JDRF events because we get to share our story with the people who can make a huge impact on Type1 and help us we hope find a cure.

I love chatting with the Members and I love how every time we meet with them they are always so amazed and they always seem to realize that this is a disease that affects all ages and that it is something they can get behind to make a real difference.

This year was a little different while I did seem to have a lot more meetings than before, it was kind of sad that it wasn’t that personal one on one meeting, face to face that I feel was a better impact and as well to be in the room with so many others and to meet all the delegates from across Canada is way better, sadly these times and the new way of life didn’t allow this. In the meetings virtually I do believe that there may have been more attention to the important topics and less off topic subjects, to have the scrapbooks online for them to follow as well was a huge help.

I am happy to have gotten the chance to speak to so many members and to hear them all say they will support us and they believe that it is something they will move forward with was good, and to know that by us doing this can make a lot of needed changes is also the part I like. I hope that I will get to do more things for JDRF and I want to be able to say I was a part of finding the cure.

I have been a Type1 for 7 years and from my first JDRF event I knew it was where I wanted to put my support, to know that there is a organization determined to help me and so many others living with Type1 and giving me so much hope for a cure, it was where I belonged.

It is fun to meet so many others through JDRF that live with Type1 and to know that all across Canada and the world there is so many like me struggling everyday with the same issues is a comfort.

I will always support JDRF in any capacity that will allow, and I will always encourage others to do the same. I believe that with all of us fighting the fight and JDRF on our side we will find a cure.”

Jo and Tilly Stimpson – mother and daughter living with T1D

Age: 12

Age at diagnosis: 2

Lives in: Peterborough, ON

Tilly would like to say: “I LOVE ‘Kids for a Cure’. It’s such an amazing experience to be part of. Meeting and connecting with other kids with Type 1 who also want to make a difference is my highlight. Advocating is a passion of mine and being able to be in front of MPs, Senators and other key decision makers is a privileged situation to be in. I’m thankful to JDRF for giving me this opportunity and for their ongoing support to the Type 1 community.”

Aly and Hartley Halvorson – Mother and daughter living with T1D

Age: 4

Age at diagnosis: 2

Lives in: Regina, SK

I really felt that it was so important for each MP to hear the stories of these amazing T1D’s warriors but also the stories of the parents who care for them. The MPs that we spoke with were all very much in support of what we were asking and again it gave us hope that soon there will be a cure for this disease, hopefully in Hartley’s lifetime.

The virtual event was a huge success in my opinion. There was very little technical issues and everything was laid out on how we wanted each meeting to unfold. The only change I would have made is to be with all of the wonderful delegates in Ottawa. Fingers crossed it will happen next year.

Thank you again for all you do and if there’s anything else you need we are an open door for you.”

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