November is Diabetes Awareness month. To get the awareness campaign kicked off this year, Maya Webster, 7 years old, lobbied at Parliament Hill as a delegate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Kids for a Cure Lobby Day held October 28-30 in Ottawa, Canada.
Maya, a member of Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church and student at Beacon Christian School in St. Catharines, Ont., was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old. In the scrapbook she made to show the Members of Parliament (MP), she included some of the numbers that are now part of her daily life. Since her diagnosis four-and-a-half years ago, over 2,600 needles, 450 Omnipod insulin pump changes, and 15,000 needle pokes have kept her healthy.
Maya is an active advocate for awareness of Type 1 diabetes at her school and community. She was also an ambassador at the JDRF’s 2018 Sunlife Walk for a Cure. Maya said she thinks she was selected to be part of this team of 28 delegates from across Canada because she's "smart, sassy, and brave." She was a little nervous about being a delegate at Parliament, but she was also very excited to be chosen. Partnered with another delegate, Maya met with many MPs to ask them to support the JDRF’s pre-budget recommendations to improve funding for those with Type 1 diabetes.
“We want them to write a letter to the person in charge of all the money, the Minister of Finance. There are people not getting the disability tax credit anymore, and I want all people with Type 1 diabetes to get free insulin,” explained Maya. Maya conducted meetings with six Members of Parliament during her time in Ottawa.
“She did such a great job! We were able to attend question period and [the team of delegates] got a standing ovation from the entire house!” reported Maya’s mother Christi Webster. “I was so very proud of these kids.”
Maya had a great experience in Ottawa and will continue to advocate for Type 1 Diabetes. It is Maya’s dream that financial support is increased for those who do not currently receive any benefits and that one day, a cure is discovered.