By Hayleigh Gowans
Phillip Brady, a 17-year-old from Fayetteville, has a passion for bringing Type 1 diabetes awareness to his community. On July 24, along with more than 150 other children from around the country, Brady headed to Washington D.C. for the biannual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Children’s Congress.
Brady, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) when he was 12, is among a group of 10 delegates from New York who were selected to join the cause this year. At the Children’s Congress, Brady met with New York Congressional delegation and attended a senate hearing to ask lawmakers to maintain federal funding to diabetes research.
“The Children’s Congress provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help members of Congress understand what life with T1D is really like and why funding research to cure and treat the disease is critical,” said Brady. “It is empowering to have the chance to put a personal face on T1D by sharing my story with key lawmakers.”
The JDRF Children’s Congress was started in 1999 as a way for children living with Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes because it commonly diagnosed in childhood, to speak to their congressional representatives about the importance of diabetes research. The program was inspired by a 9-year-old boy from Massachusetts named Tommy Solo, who asked his mother why kids with T1D couldn’t go to their representatives to speak with them about what it is like to have the disease and acknowledge they want to find a cure. Since then, nine successful Children’s Congresses have been held and more than 1,000 children with T1D have served as delegates.
Brady and his family have been active in other fundraisers and awareness events for the CNY chapter of the JDRF since his diagnosis in 2012. Living with T1D is something Brady said many of his peers don’t understand well, and that he had to grow up fast to learn how to properly keep himself healthy at an early age.
“Most people would never guess I am dealing with a chronic disease, but that doesn’t mean living with Type 1 diabetes is easy. There are no breaks. There is no time off. It can be frustrating,” said Brady. “If I don’t take good care of myself, the consequences can be life threatening and impact my health long-term. Medical supplies and prescriptions are very expensive. These are some of the many reasons JDRF is fighting so hard to find a cure.”
Brady, who is going into his senior year at Fayetteville-Manlius, plans to study agriculture business at Iowa State University after graduation. When he’s not advocating for diabetes research and awareness, Brady is involved in many other activities including volleyball, basketball, skiing, spending time with friends and family, and working part time during the school year at a local farm and during the summer in the kitchen of a restaurant.
To learn more about the JDRF Children’s Congress, go to cc.jdrf.org.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.