June 2013 Cure Champions

Children’s Congress 2013 Delegates: Finn Doherty and Gilad Waldman

From July 8-10, two delegates from the New England Chapter will be attending the seventh biennial JDRF Children’s Congress. Since its start in 1999, Children’s Congress has become the largest media and grassroots event held in support of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D). This year, approximately 150 children with T1D, ages 4-17 representing all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, will serve as delegates and meet with their elected officials to seek out additional funds from congress for diabetes research.  Additionally, some delegates will be invited to testify before a Congressional Committee to share their personal stories about the challenges of living with T1D. These testimonies will serve as a call to action for the members of the U.S. Congress to continue their support of T1D research.

The two delegates who will be representing the New England Chapter will be Finn Doherty of Cohasset, MA and Gilad Waldman of Framingham, MA.

Finn Doherty
Finn Doherty

Twelve-year-old Finn Doherty sees living with T1D as part of his identity; it is just another step in his daily routine. Diagnosed at age 2, Finn says, “Type 1 diabetes is like a gigantic speed bump. It slows you down, but with the right attitude, you can always keep going.” Finn’s dedication to managing his T1D does not stop him from enjoying the things he loves, such as baseball, sailing and his favorite subjects, Latin and math. Finn played an integral role in connecting the Cohasset Triathlon with its’ charity of choice, JDRF. The triathlon, one of the largest and most successful volunteer fundraisers for JDRF across the country, has raised nearly $1 million for T1D research to date and continues to raise money to help children like Finn every year. Throughout his time volunteering at the triathlon, Finn had the opportunity to meet Gary Hall, Jr., an Olympic swimmer and JDRF Advocate who has lived with T1D since 1999. Finn continues to live by the advice that Hall shared with him: “Never let type 1 diabetes beat you.”

Gilad Waldman
Gilad Waldman

Gilad Waldman, age 14, has shown dedication in every aspect of his life, including support of JDRF. His commitment to diabetes research began after he was diagnosed at age 7. Every year since his diagnosis, his dad participated in JDRF’s Ride to Cure Diabetes. Despite his interest in the event, Gilad was not old enough to ride with his dad. Instead of being discouraged, Gilad decided to host his own charity bike ride, “Taking Diabetes for A Ride,” in November 2011. By involving his middle school and seeking out donations, Gilad raised nearly $9,000. Since then, Gilad has researched prevention methods, met with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor to further learn about beta cell encapsulation and presented his research to his school district. In addition to learning about and living with T1D, Gilad enjoys sports and plays the clarinet, piano and guitar. Gilad says, “I see Children’s Congress as yet another way I can actively advocate and do whatever it takes to ensure the continuation of the Special Diabetes Program. We are now closer than ever before to finding a cure for T1D—or bringing about the prevention of it altogether.”

To learn more about Children’s Congress and how these children are empowering lawmakers to understand life with T1D, visit http://cc.jdrf.org.