On April 7, advocates and Team Tackle football players met for breakfast and prepared for a busy Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. A Senate press conference served as the official kick-off of Team Tackle and raised awareness of diabetes on Capitol Hill. Kevin Hagan and President, Health Care & Education Dr. Maggie Powers delivered the Association’s 2016 Stop Diabetes petition—signed by more than 79,000 people asking Congress to stand up to diabetes by increasing funding for diabetes research and programs—to Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan M. Collins (R-ME). The press conference shared the message that diabetes touches everyone in our country and featured stories from Team Tackle football players Dont’a Hightower (New England), Mike Golic (ESPN sports commentator and retired player) and Lorenzo Alexander (free agent), as well as Association advocates Gina Gavlak, Michelle Foster, member of the National Advocacy Committee, and Aiden Dine, an 11-year-old Diabetes Advocate who has type 1 to an audience of 22,000.diabetes. The Association, for the first time, live streamed the press conference on Facebook< http://bit.ly/1S93mg2
Advocates and Team Tackle members also braved the sometimes torrential rain to meet with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of funding diabetes prevention, treatment and research. More than 140 visits occurred with Congressional offices across the Hill.
After the events on Capitol Hill, advocates and Team Tackle members participated in panel discussions at the launch of the Making Health Care Better Series at the White House. This event examined the current state of diabetes prevention, research and treatment efforts. Administration officials and other stakeholders discussed the progress that has been made by the Obama Administration in addressing the diabetes epidemic and what further work needs to be done. Robin Richardson, Gina Gavlak, Advocacy Committee member Anastasia Albanese-O’Neill, and Team Tackle members Sam Acho (Chicago), Rashad Jennings (New York), and Aaron Murray (Kansas City) participated in a panel to discuss the impact of diabetes on their lives. Kevin Hagan participated in a panel discussing the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to prevent diabetes. Many of the panels can be viewed here http://bit.ly/1qXhq25
Thank you to the many advocates who traveled across the country to attend our event. Thanks also to everyone who signed the petition and asked friends and family to sign as well. Over the last six weeks we met our ambitious goal of 50,000 signatures, which we added to those we gathered last fall. In total we delivered a petition with our 79,000 signatures to Congress! This was a great event and we will use our momentum to move our mission forward. I attached two photos of the event below.