Tuesday, July 27, 2010

American Idol's Crystal Bowersox Visits the White House with JDRF

American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox was in Washington, D.C., for a White House meeting to discuss the critical need for an increase in federal funding for diabetes research. With Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Bowersox asked the Administration to renew the Special Diabetes Program, noting that if the program is not renewed, federal support for type 1 diabetes research will be cut by 35%.

Crystal, who is currently on the "American Idol Live" tour, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was six years old.

"I took some time out today from the American Idol tour to be with JDRF and represent people with diabetes and tell the Administration why research for type 1 diabetes is so important," said Ms. Bowersox. "I was honored to have the opportunity to talk with the President's advisors about the research progress that has been made thanks to JDRF and the federal government. It was a great meeting and I hope that the federal commitment to diabetes research remains strong."

The Special Diabetes Program was created in 1997 and has been renewed by Congress four times. The program consists of two parts - research funding for type 1 diabetes and treatment and education programs for Native American populations. Last year, both components of the program were renewed for one year. The renewal will seek to secure annual funding of $200 million for five years for both parts of the program.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can occur at any age, but is mostly diagnosed before age 30; between 1 and 3 million Americans live with type 1 diabetes. The disease requires multiple insulin injections daily just to survive, is difficult to manage, carries the constant threat of devastating complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation, and usually results in a drastic reduction in quality of life. According to the National Institutes of Health, the financial impact of treating diabetes, in all its forms, accounts for more than $174 billion in health care costs in the U.S. every year -- and individuals with diabetes represent approximately one in three of all Medicare expenditures.

Find out more and/or donate to the JDRF at http://www.jdrf.org

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