Oregon City girl raises diabetes awareness
Ellie Carlson, who will be a freshman at Oregon City High School this year, spent part of her summer at the U.S. Capitol representing fellow Type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients.
Federal funding set to expire Sept. 30 will cut off $150 million annually to the National Institutes of Health for research. JDRF, formerly called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation until T1D was discovered to not be exclusive to children, organized the Children's Congress to help U.S. representatives understand what life with T1D is like and advocate research to fund life-changing therapies.
When she was first diagnosed with T1D five years ago at age 9, Carlson found treatment burdensome and had trouble believing that that there is no cure for the disease.
No longer needing help from school staff to manage her disease, she said that newer technologies developed for people with T1D have helped her become independent and have a more positive outlook.
"Our school secretaries would help me with my medication," she said. "I would have to visit the main office before meals to get insulin, and this would take me through several years until I got an insulin pump."
Carlson said that T1D technology like her Omnipod pump and Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring device make it seem "almost like I do nothing for controlling my T1D."
While visiting Washington, D.C., on the lobbying trip, Carlson met with U.S. senators, along with JDRF's other Oregon T1D delegate Bram Gerken and role model Fiona Wylde, a stand-up paddleboarder from Hood River whose diagnosis with T1D hasn't slowed down a career as a professional athlete.
Outside of participating in JDRF events and supporting the T1D community, Carlson is an artist and costume-maker who already has sold some of her creations. She lives on a half-acre farm within city limits, helping her Oregon City family raise rabbits and chickens.
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