ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) – Diabetes impacts millions of people around the world.
According to the American Diabetes Assocation, the majority are living with type 2 diabetes, while others have type 1.
A 9-year-old girl in Ellsworth was recently diagnosed with type 1, but she’s already a great advocate for those kids living with the disease.
“In the beginning of having diabetes, I just wanted to be normal, and now I feel privileged that I have diabetes,” said nine-year-old Lydia Bryant of Ellsworth.
She isn’t letting type 1 diabetes get her down.
After her diagnosis last year, Lydia has become an advocate for those living with the disease, including one of her best friends.
She’s been supporting his JDRF One Walk Team for several years.
“She’s had a very short time to adjust to having diabetes, but she’s had a lot of years working with JDRF, and so I feel like that has given her additional awareness about the disease and about fundraising efforts,” explained Lydia’s mom, Laura.
Now she has big dreams of helping others.
“I want to make a difference,” said Lydia.
She plans to start in Washington D.C.
She’ll head there next week to meet face-to-face with congressional leaders as part of the JDRF Children’s Congress.
“I am one of the two kids that were picked out of 500, so this is pretty important to me, but I don’t want it to happen ever again to anybody,” said Lydia.
Every two years, more than 160 children living with type 1 diabetes meet in our nation’s capital to educate members of Congress about the disease and to ask them to continue to fund research.
She says technology has helped her greatly, but she believes it can be improved. Her hope is to create an insulin pump that can give blood-sugar readings aloud to assist people who are visually impaired.
“I want better technology to get a long term cure for diabetes,” said Lydia. “I feel like the kids should be able to choose which pump they get because it’s not fair that most kids can’t have Omnipod, and I just don’t think it’s right.”
Her mom, Laura, hopes this experience will inspire Lydia to continue to use her voice for change.
“We want her to know that she can make a difference and that she can play a part in this disease and in finding a cure,” said Laura.
The JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will take place from July 8-10, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
To read more about Lydia’s story visit: http://cc.jdrf.org/delegates/lydia-2/.