Andrea Carlile is the Advocacy Team Chair (ATC) for the JDRF North Florida Chapter. She and her son, Crew attended the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress in Washington, DC together!
Andrea’s first type 1 diabetes (T1D) connection was her brother, who was diagnosed as an adult during his final year of graduate school. Later on, her own son Crew was diagnosed as well, and her brother suggested that they reach out to their local JDRF chapter – the North Florida Chapter. Over the years, their family attended One Walks, and participated in their own fundraisers as well. Eventually, Andrea stepped onto the Chapter’s Board, and later went on to become the ATC.
Andrea covers the 1st through 6th congressional districts in northern Florida, and her job as ATC is to use conventional methods, and create new ones, for reaching a wider audience and spreading the message about JDRF Advocacy. She has a wide territory in which it is crucial that she gathers as many volunteer advocates as possible to push for JDRF’s legislative priorities and respond to JDRF Advocacy action alerts. More funding for T1D research is raised through advocacy than JDRF’s fundraising activities, and she says it is crucial we continue to advocate for increased and continued funding at every turn.
Andrea’s favorite JDRF Advocacy event is Government Day, which occurs annually. The passion in the room and the feeling of doing something for the greater good of the T1D community inspires Andrea to keep going when her job as an ATC gets tough. The biggest challenge that she has encountered this year is the political climate—when presenting ideas that at face value seem partisan, it can be difficult to break down the reasons behind the healthcare principles that JDRF abides by. She loves the bipartisan nature of the Special Diabetes Program and other legislation that affects T1D, and even in the current political climate, the stress on bipartisan work that JDRF adopts and maintains is impressive and outstanding.
Andrea’s son, Crew, was selected as a JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress Delegate, which took place last summer in DC. Crew, along with the other Florida Delegates, met with Florida Senators and his U.S. House Representative. Andrea said that letting the kids take the starring role and lead the Member meetings was a challenging step to take, but she really enjoyed watching the kids navigate their way through the advocacy process. The most lasting impact from the trip came from all that Crew learned—advocating for T1D research funding in person on Capitol Hill amounted to more than any civics or American government class!
Thank you, Andrea, for your commitment to JDRF’s mission, and your passion for advocacy! We are incredibly grateful for your time and efforts!