WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., welcomed three Connecticut kids with juvenile diabetes to a hearing Tuesday called to examine the impact the disease has on children and their families, the economic costs of caring for people with diabetes, and the promising breakthroughs in juvenile diabetes research that could lead to better treatments or a cure.
Ethan Falla, 13, from New Britain, testified alongside actress Mary Tyler Moore, Olympic swimmer Gary Hall, movie producer Doug Wick, and Dr. Allen Spiegel of the National Institutes for Health. Travis Blinn, of Wallingford, and Allison Roberto, of Darien, were among 150 children from across the country who attended the hearing as Children’s Congress Delegates representing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
After the hearing, Lieberman met with the three children privately.
“Childhood should be a time of wonder,” Lieberman said. “Why is the sky blue? How do birds fly? Where does the sun go when it sets? A child should never have to ask: ‘Why am I sick? Why did this happen to me? Will I get better?’ But those are questions millions of children with juvenile diabetes have already had to ask – and each year they are joined by another 13,000 American children asking the same questions.”
Lieberman said legislation he will propose to establish a National Center for Cures would help find cures for diabetes, as well as cures and treatments for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS.
“The National Center for Cures would be like a magnet, pulling together the vast and promising – but swirling and disparate – research ideas and projects in all of the scientific and medical disciplines being conducted by both the public and private sectors,” the Senator said. “I believe we need to pull together work already being done in stem cell research, the Human Genome Project and pharmaceuticals. By sharing knowledge I believe we can bring cures from research to reality more quickly.”
The prepared statements of each of the witnesses are available on the Committee’s web site at: http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=250.