New College Pontefract student, Laura Dunion, has travelled to America to lobby Congress for continued funding for type 1 diabetes research. Laura, age 16, was diagnosed with this auto immune condition at the age of 8 and wears an Insulin pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She has also taken part in trials for an ‘artificial pancreas’, this ground-breaking technology can automatically deliver Insulin into the body in response to changing glucose levels.
Laura is a Children’s Ambassador for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) charity and regularly organises fundraising events and volunteers at Discovery Days and Fun Runs to help them both raise funds to help children living with the condition, and to fund research into finding a cure.
Earlier this year, Laura was selected to be JDRFs United Kingdom representative at their children’s congress event in Washington DC. 150 young delegates from around the world lobbied congress for more support into research into type 1 diabetes.
Since returning from her successful visit, Laura has shared her story at numerous events, including the Yorkshire and Humber Paediatric Diabetes Network Study Day, the ‘In Your Shoes’ event organised by Leeds Children’s Hospital for young people with long term health conditions, and at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Health Diabetes Quality Improvement event where she was a guest speaker.
Laura is part of the Hospital Youth Forum and also helped to plan and facilitate the In Your Shoes event.
Laura said, “My motto has always been to keep positive and don’t let anything in life get in your way. I have tried to turn the negative experience of having Type 1 diabetes into something positive. “
Laura, far right, with other young ambassadors in Washington.