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Diabetes advocate urges Congress to take steps to stop diabetes

by jmaloni
Fri, Mar 27th 2015 07:00 am

Nearly 200 American Diabetes Association volunteer advocates from across the nation joined together in Washington, D.C., in March for the association's premier national advocacy event, Call to Congress. During this time, Tyler Sparks, a diabetes advocate from Wheatfield, met with his members of Congress, asking them to make diabetes a national priority and support efforts to stop diabetes in Western New York.

Attendees included children and adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, family members of individuals living with diabetes, researchers and health care professionals. All participants are deeply committed to diabetes advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels. Tyler Sparks is a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at age 8, and this was his first time participating in Call to Congress.

During scheduled meetings with members of Congress, Sparks and the other diabetes advocates urged them to make a strong federal investment in the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill. Specifically, advocates asked members to allocate funding for the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, provide funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Diabetes Translation and for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, and renew the Special Diabetes Program - all programs grounded in research and dedicated to fighting the nation's diabetes epidemic.

"Call to Congress brings diabetes advocates from across the country together in the movement to stop diabetes and provides them with the opportunity to tell our federal government how important it is to fight this deadly epidemic," said Janel Wright, chair of the American Diabetes Association board. "As diabetes takes a physical and financial toll on this country, federal funding is critical in our nation's response to this epidemic. Congress must provide leadership and invest in research and prevention programs that will ultimately stop diabetes."

With nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes, and another 86 million with pre-diabetes, this disease affects every community across the nation. During Call to Congress, diabetes advocates shared their story with Congress to put a name and a face to this epidemic and urge members to join the Congressional Diabetes Caucuses. The Senate and House Diabetes Caucuses educate members about diabetes and support legislation that improves diabetes research, prevention, education and treatment.

While in Washington, D.C., in addition to meeting with members of Congress, Sparks also participated in a series of trainings with other Call to Congress participants that will help enhance advocacy efforts back home in their local communities.

For more information about Call to Congress, visit

Tyler Sparks 

Tyler Sparks

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