DOVER — Next month, a 15-year-old girl will spend three days in Washington D.C. as part of an international delegation to spread awareness and ask for support to research juvenile diabetes.
Caroline Carter, who will be a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in the fall, is one of the 150 delegates – aged 4 to 17 – who were selected to represent the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) from a pool of nearly 1,500 applicants with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The 2013 JDRF Children's Congress delegation, which includes members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, is scheduled to visit Washington July 8-10 to meet with members of Congress – which include both the Senate and the House of Representatives – to explain their experiences living with the disease and encourage them to support research until a cure is available.
Caroline - who has earned many scholastic, athletic and community awards – hopes to study chemistry at Dartmouth College in order to help others.
"I will become a diabetes researcher, finding a cure for type 1 diabetes," she said in the release.
Caroline will be accompanied to Washington by her mom, Peggy, which will allow both of them to return to the nation's capital.
"She went with her school last year. She's never been with me," Peggy said, adding she visited Washington during an eighth grade trip.
Peggy said Caroline will have lunch with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) whose granddaughter also has T1D.
"It will be nice for Caroline to be with fellow diabetics," Peggy said, adding they can relate to one another and share tips on coping with the disease.
Like others living with T1D, Caroline requires daily insulin injections and monitors her blood sugar levels through a pump she wears on her sleeve, where everyone can see.
"This is one of the main reasons I wear my pump on the outside; because I want people to realize that type 1 diabetes does not discriminate and that anyone can get it at any time and that people/children are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a rapid pace," Caroline said in a release.
The JDRF Children's Congress began in 1999 after an 8-year-old from Massachusetts felt Congress needed to hear from children about T1D. Since then, young delegates have traveled to Washington every other year, according to the release.
JDRF International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, who has lived with T1D for more than four decades, and selected delegates will testify before Congress. Additionally, the delegates will work with six counterparts from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to remind officials how T1D is an international issue.
To learn more about JDRF or the Children's Congress, visit jdrf.org.