JDRF's "Kids for a Cure" are Living Proof that a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes is Within Reach

Nov 27, 2012, 08:59 ET from JDRF

Inspirational kids from across Canada descend on Parliament Hill to advocate for expanded clinical trial network for diabetes research.

OTTAWA, Nov. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, inspirational children from across Canada who live every day with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are in Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators, as part of JDRF's Kids for a Cure Day.  These 40 Living Proof Champions and their families will discuss the challenges they face living with type 1 diabetes and the importance of expanding the JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (JDRF CCTN) to all parts of the country.

JDRF's Kids for a Cure Day in Ottawa includes meetings with parliamentarians, a team appearance at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, and a lunchtime speech from Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay.

"It's an honour to share this day with such a remarkable group of children," said Andrew McKee, President and CEO, JDRF Canada.  "Every one of these kids is an embodiment of this year's theme - Living Proof.  They demonstrate the challenges of living with type 1 diabetes and show how research makes a difference in better treatment, curing and preventing this disease.  Through JDRF CCTN innovative research, we are accelerating solutions for the management, care, and cure of type 1 diabetes. "

"We have come to Ottawa today to share our stories with MPs and with each other, and to encourage everyone we meet to support finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, " said Megan Beamish, 14, of Halifax, who is serving as national co-chair of Kids for a Cure. "I was diagnosed when I was ten years old, and I use a pump to control my diabetes.  While I try not to let type 1 diabetes hold me back, every day I hope they find a cure for this disease; not just for me, but for my family and everyone around me that the disease also affects. "

"I've been moved by the stories of kids from my own constituency and across Canada who live with type 1 diabetes and I'm proud to help them in any way I can," said Patrick Brown, MP (Barrie, ON), Chair of the All-Party Juvenile Diabetes Caucus.  "I know my colleagues on all sides of the House of Commons will be equally inspired and will continue to show their support for finding a cure."

About T1D
T1D, the most severe form of diabetes, is a non-preventable autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly and lasts a lifetime. More than 300,000 Canadians and their families suffer from this disease and are faced with its devastating complications.i

Unlike type 2 diabetes, T1D cannot be prevented by diet, exercise or medication. Living with the disease demands constant blood testing and regulating. Someone living with T1D requires approximately 1,500 needles and 2,200 finger-pokes each year to test their blood sugar.ii

Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual complications.iii

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all

people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970 (1974 in Canada), JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion (U.S.) to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 per cent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.ca .

About JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network
JDRF CCTN is supported by the Government of Canada, which committed $20 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario's Southern Ontario Development Program in 2009, and JDRF, which provided an additional $13.9 million. The $33.9 million investment is helping to bring new technologies and treatments to the marketplace and ensure that Canadians living with T1D and its complications are among the first to benefit from the latest research.

JDRF CCTN is a groundbreaking effort to accelerate solutions for the management, care, and cure of T1D. JDRF CCTN is currently developing a broad range of high-profile clinical trials in association with leading diabetes researchers at partner universities and medical centres in southern Ontario. By enhancing the existing clinical trial infrastructure in the province and providing high-profile training opportunities for seasoned and junior investigators alike, JDRF CCTN is positioning southern Ontario as an international hub for diabetes translational research, innovation, and commercialization of new therapeutics and enabling technologies. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.ca/cctn .

i Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Type 1 Fact Sheet. http://www.jdrf.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=62495B79-DE19-05A3-5168B63985B9E8B2. Accessed April 2012.
iiJuvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Fundraising Guide, https://jdrfca.donordrive.com/assets/JDRFca/files/$cms$/102/1411.pdf.Accessed April 2012.
iiiSick Kids Hospital, New Study to Explore Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes, http://www.sickkids.ca/AboutSickKids/Newsroom/Past-News/2004/New-study-to-explore-risk-factors-for-type-1-diabetes.html.AccessedApril 2012.

JDRF 2012 National Kids for a Cure Co-Chairs

Megan Beamish
Megan Beamish is 14 years old from Halifax, Nova Scotia and she suffers from type 1 diabetes (T1D). Megan was diagnosed with T1D when she was 10 years old.

Megan and her family have participated in the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes in Halifax three times and entered a team in the Ride for Diabetes Research once. Megan has fundraised nearly $10,000 for diabetes research. Her father is the volunteer chair of the Halifax chapter and the family actively promotes JDRF at malls, grocery stores and the Halifax waterfront. Last Christmas Megan's family entered a float into their local Christmas parade.

Megan is a straight A student in grade nine who loves track & field with her specialties being high jump, long jump, triple jump and the 100 meter dash. Megan would like to be a Canadian Olympian or a Pediatric Endocrinologist when she is older.

Video links:
Megan's winning video for the JDRF Youth Video Contest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRNJvpujYfk

Michael Thornton
Michael Thornton is 12 years old from Toronto, Ontario and he suffers from type 1 diabetes (T1D).  Michael was diagnosed with T1D when he was 6 years old and he uses an insulin pump to manage his diabetes.

Michael is an elite two sport athlete (soccer and track & field) who represented Canada in Switzerland at the Junior World Diabetes Cup. This young elite athlete is also a philanthropist who has organized major fundraisers that have included bringing members of the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto FC to his school for his annual "Haunted Graveyard" fundraising event. He also participates in the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes and other JDRF events.

Michael is not only an exceptional athlete but an outgoing advocate for JDRF. He has made connections with MPs, the media and the public in an attempt to raise awareness about diabetes and to one day be part of finding a cure.

Video links:
Michael in England: https://vimeo.com/50443604
Michael in Trial at A.S. Roma: https://vimeo.com/41206214
Michael in Netherlands: https://vimeo.com/34524483