On Friday, March 23, Senator Sherrod Brown met with Jennifer Hutkowski and two new JDRF advocate families to discuss their lives with type 1 diabetes and ask for his support for the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program. Though their time was limited, the advocates conducted a very successful and memorable meeting.
For 11-year old Arianna Motaroki, who was diagnosed in February 2011, this was the first time she publicly spoke to anyone regarding her diabetes, which, according to her mother, Valerie, was a major breakthrough. Though she was a bit reserved at first, Senator Brown was wonderful about asking the right questions to make her feel comfortable enough to discuss her story. Aside from the Motaroki family, the advocates were also joined by the Jones family, which included 4-year old Carter, his mother Jennifer, and Carter’s father Brady, who is also a type 1 diabetic. Carter’s story was shared by his mother Jennifer, but Carter shyly chimed in when the Senator asked him if it was true that he had checked his blood sugar all by himself – no small feat for a child of four! Carter’s father, Brady, then added to the story, explaining how Carter was a third generation type 1, as well as the financial burden of living with this costly disease.
Toward the end of the meeting when Jennifer shared her story of being diagnosed at age 23, Senator Brown told the group that his own son was diagnosed around the same time as Jennifer at the age of 29. Thus, because he has a personal connection, Senator Brown fully understood the plight of the attendees and was exceptionally receptive to hear about the tremendous advancements that have been made to type 1 treatments and prevention techniques via the Special Diabetes Program. As a result of their meeting, the Senator has signed the letter of support for the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program in 2013, and the advocates are extremely grateful for his support!