North Carolina teen looks to Congress for a cure

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) — They're just kids, but they've already learned to cope with a lifelong disease. The cause is unknown, and there's no cure, but one North Carolina teen hopes to change that with the help of Congress.

Catchie McDonald hopes to sell lawmakers on investing in a cure (Source: GrayDC)

With each step through the nation's halls of power, 13-year-old Catchie McDonald is working toward a future free from juvenile diabetes. Wednesday's mission: recruiting lawmakers to the cause.

"I'm real excited to kind of talk to them about type 1 diabetes, and how they can help us," she said.

The Wilmington teen is one of 150 kids - ages 4 to 17 - in Washington DC this week for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's 2019 Children's Congress. They're all living with the disease and share their stories in an effort to convince lawmakers to invest another $150 million into research and treatment.

"With the money that they could put in, it could lead to new upgrades and eventually a cure," said McDonald.

While Congress is in the midst of historic partisan gridlock, the funding is already on the fast-track. Hundreds of lawmakers signed a letter in support: 378 in the House and 68 in the Senate. That's more than enough to get the bill through both chambers and on to the president's desk.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) led Wednesday's committee hearing on juvenile diabetes. She said the stories they hear from these kids are more powerful than statistics and the latest scientific data.

"They put a human face on a very difficult lifelong disease," she said. "It touches your heart."

McDonald and her dad caught up with their lawmakers after the hearing. The pair say they'll return home to the Tarheel State confident Congress will keep their story in mind when it comes time to vote.

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