My name is Ross Fasman, I am from Fort Lee, New Jersey, and I recently graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park. Like many of you reading, I have had quite the journey that led me to this blog post. Mine began with my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 12 on August 15, 2006.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with incredible support from my family and friends. It is from this support that I have drawn inspiration to take action with JDRF from day 1. When I was initially diagnosed, I attended countless ‘coffee talks’ and ‘student panels’ with my family and my local chapter (shout out to the JDRF Northern New Jersey and Rockland Chapter). After gaining confidence, I started giving speeches at my Chapter’s annual Gala, at the National Convention in Denver, and at JDRF 2011 Children’s Congress as a Delegate.
From there, my family and friends started a Walk team named ‘Team R.A.D. (Ross Against Diabetes)’, which we kept going throughout middle school and high school. During college, I, along with four of my fraternity brothers, fundraised and participated in a JDRF Ride to Cure in Tucson, Arizona. And now here I am as an Intern in the JDRF Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. So JDRF has, to say the least, been a big part of my life and an outlet to passionately champion a cause I believe in: Turning Type One Into Type None.
Beyond JDRF, I have always loved American Government – this was my major in college, Sonia Sotomayor is my T1D hero, and I dream of holding public office one day. But it wasn’t until I attended JDRF 2011 Children’s Congress and interned for the late Senator Lautenberg (NJ) on his Health Policy Legislative Team that I saw firsthand how these experiences can fuse to make a positive difference. And a big difference it makes!
Even if I hadn’t served as a JDRF Children’s Congress Delegate, or interned in the Senator’s office, I didn’t have to look far to see this difference. I’ve met hundreds of people, each with newer technology than the next; first, it was a Bluetooth meter syncing to an insulin pump, and now it’s a CGM that suspends when you’re low. These are incredible accomplishments, allowing kids like me to chase the world and backpack around Europe, insulin pump and all.
Now I’m looking out a bit further, and see that a closed loop artificial pancreas, smart insulin, and encapsulation therapy are all in the distance. The view might be blurry, but they are there. With more clarity, I can also see that I have a role in bringing these things closer to reality.
All of this is for you, for me, for us and we’re all building to that day when we don’t need any of it. And I’m proud to be a part of JDRF Advocacy team in helping us realize that dream.
So this journey has just been a natural progression in doing what I love to do: helping those with T1D through the best of American government and seeing and hearing about the difference we have made, are making, and will make every day.
Whether it’s mobilizing advocates, influencing members of Congress on Capitol Hill, or analyzing policy and regulatory frameworks, I know this work is important to all of us. I look forward to working with JDRF Advocacy and learning about all the work we all do to help make the lives of those impacted by T1D better.