Each summer, the JDRF Advocacy office has 3-4 interns helping advance our mission and learning all they can along the way. This summer, we have three ladies with us, all from different backgrounds and stories. First up – Mia! Take it away Mia!
As one of the many interns that flood D.C. each summer, I imagine that many aspects of my morning routine are pretty standard: I pack my lunch, charge my cell phone, and iron my clothes. Unlike most of my fellow stipend laborers, I frame the beginning of my work day with several practices far more obscure than a race down the escalator to the Metro: I check my blood sugar, calibrate my continuous blood glucose monitor, and clip on my insulin pump. Though the significance of such actions may frequently be misunderstood by individuals with fully-functioning beta cells, I’m lucky enough to be interning in the Advocacy Office of JDRF for the summer. As a result, I’m surrounded by people with and without T1D who empathize with its daily rituals and burdens, and—perhaps most importantly—recognize the need for a cure.
Since I arrived in the office a few weeks ago, many other special qualities of the internship have managed to shine through: last Thursday, I had the opportunity to support JDRF Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter’s annual Real Estate Games, a day during which hundreds of D.C. locals working in the commercial real estate industry compete in ‘field day’ activities sponsored by their respective companies. Although watching young businesspeople clash in games like tug-of-war was certainly entertaining, knowing that each individual was there to contribute to efforts towards helping defeat type 1 diabetes was far more rewarding.
Last summer, I had a very different—although similarly rewarding— position on Capitol Hill as an intern for Senator Jeanne Shaheen from my native New Hampshire. I had actually met the Senator many years before while working as a youth advocate for JDRF Advocacy—a reflection of her longstanding commitment to diabetes research as the grandmother of a young girl with T1D.
But while Senator Shaheen’s work with JDRF had led me to her office, it wasn’t until JDRF 2013 Children’s Congress—a day during which over one hundred and fifty child advocates and celebrities like Ray Allen came to the Hill to testify in favor of funding for T1D research—that I realized how passionate I still felt about the organization and its dedication to take ‘Type One to Type None.’ After hearing a teenage boy testify that the last time he ever felt “free” was before he was diagnosed with T1D, I felt a sudden rush of determination that I’m sure any volunteer, staff member, or even an intern for JDRF is quite familiar with: the drive to continue to fight for the freedom that every person living with T1D deserves.
As I look forward to a rewarding and enlightening summer, I’m eager to wake up every morning knowing that—after I finish checking my blood sugar and administering insulin—I’ll be able to work alongside individuals dedicated to beating T1D. And above all, I’m elated to have the opportunity to contribute in anyway I can to the ongoing efforts and achievements of an organization like JDRF.