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JDF Washington Report
Volume II, No. 16
July 9, 1999

JDF Participates in Stem Cell Research Congressional Briefing

A congressional briefing was held yesterday on Capitol Hill to discuss the promise of human stem cell research to lead to cures for devastating diseases such as diabetes. Scientists believe it possible that stem cells (which are basic, undifferentiated cells) can one day be developed into an unending supply of islet cells suitable for transplantation to cure diabetes. There is currently a debate in Congress on whether federal funding should be available for stem cell research. Stem cells have been derived from excess human embryos and fetal tissue which have been donated to research and would otherwise have been discarded.

JDF Chair of Government Relations Leah Mullin delivered a statement at the briefing. She was joined by Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Dr. Gearhart was one of the first people to isolate stem cells late last year); Dr. Daniel Marshak, Chief Scientific Officer, Osiris Therapeutics, Inc.; Dr. Ronald Cole-Turner, Professor of Theology & Ethics, Pittsburg Theological Seminary; and Jim Maurer (suffers from Parkinson's Disease).

For more information about stem cell research and its application to diabetes, please see the following web pages:

Children's Congress: Delegate is Remembered by Secretary Donna Shalala

When he met with HHS Secretary Shalala, Child Delegate Preston Dennis (age 6, Phoenix, AZ) presented her with a hand-made doll with push- pins sticking out of it to remind her of what it's like to test one's blood and take shots of insulin. We just received the following note from Preston's Mom: "Preston asked that I email a hand- written note he received from Secretary Donna Shalala in response to meeting him at the JDF Children's Congress. He felt so positive and wanted to share that feeling with all of you.

"Dear Preston,

I wanted you to know that your push pin doll is setting on my bookcase. It reminds me each day how often you have to stick in a needle to keep well. It also reminds me to support more funding for research. You are very brave and courageous. I know you made a lasting impression on me. Best wishes for the future.

Secretary Donna Shalala"

Secretary Shalala addressed all child delegates during the JDF Children's Congress on Monday, June 21, 1999.

Children's Congress Delegate Earns National Recognition for Diabetes Website

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Dinkgrave of Livonia, Michigan, is one of the JDF Children's Congress delegates. Ryan created and has been maintaining a diabetes website called The Family's Guide to Diabetes for over three years. Ryan discovered that three years ago, there weren't many websites about diabetes specifically for kids or teens, so he decided to activate his creative talents and his expertise in having diabetes (he was diagnosed at age 10) to help other kids. Ryan realized, however, that "everyday life for a kid or a teen with diabetes involves an entire family, not just the person affected. It was on this premise, and that of using my own experience as the basis for all articles, that I started the site." Ryan receives no financial or technical support for this website from corporate sponsors he does it all on his own. Ryan recently appeared with other JDF Children's Congress delegates on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss the Children's Congress and what it is like to live with juvenile diabetes. Please visit "The Family's Guide to Diabetes" and share with others who may be interested. Pictures of the Children's Congress are available on the website, as well as the JDF website. Great work Ryan!

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - Government Relations
1400 I Street, NW #500
Washington, DC 20005
1-800-JDF-1VOTE ex. 5 (800-533-1868)

Posted 9 July 1999

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