Teen from Wilmington to lobby lawmakers for more money to fight type 1 diabetes

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A teen who is benefiting from the work of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will go to Washington to ask lawmakers to spend more money on type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Maddie Picken, 15, of Wilmington, will attend the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 2017 Children's Congress July 24-26.

Picken said she plans to let Congressional leaders know how essential they are in advancing research and helping to achieve our vision of a world without T1D.

As many as 1.25 million Americans have T1D.

Picken is one of them. The rising junior at Coastal Christian High School was diagnosed when she was 7.

"It's hard and stressful, but it doesn't stop me," said Picken, who is on the tennis team at her school. "I have to prepare two hours in advance, I just can't show up. Even in academics, that's really hard because I have to consistently check my blood sugar to make sure that I'm in a good range so I can think clearly, especially right before a quiz or a test."

Picken is the first pediatric patient on the new hybrid closed loop artificial pancreas, which she said is working well to stabilize her blood sugar.

JDRF's research and advocacy work has catalyzed development of artificial pancreas systems.

As one of five North Carolinians in the delegation of 150, she will meet with North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Tom Tillis as well as Congressman David Rouzer.

Picken will advocate for the Special Diabetes Bill, which would allocate $150 million a year for three years to support the new artificial pancreas systems and research in hopes of finding a cure for TD1.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.