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Florida diabetes advocate calls for greater federal funding

For media inquiries call Anastasia Albanese-O’Neill at 352-256-6004 or e-mail

In an effort to stop diabetes and its devastating effects, Anastasia Albanese-O’Neill, a member of the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the University of Florida, will join more than 200 advocates from across the country today through Friday in Washington, D.C., for the American Diabetes Association’s Call to Congress.

Attendees will include children and adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, family members of individuals with diabetes, researchers and other health care professionals. All are committed to advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels. Albanese-O’Neill is a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes and serves as a nurse at the UF diabetes center.

The advocates will meet with members of Congress on Thursday to urge them to support federal funding levels for diabetes research and prevention programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recognize the magnitude of the nation’s diabetes epidemic.

Of the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, more than 1.4 million of them are residents of Florida. The advocates will also urge legislators to join the Congressional Diabetes Caucuses, which act to educate members about diabetes and to support legislation that improves diabetes, research, education and treatment.

“Call to Congress brings Diabetes Advocates from across the country together in the movement to Stop Diabetes and provides them with the opportunity to tell our federal government how important it is to fight this deadly epidemic,” said John Griffin Jr., the chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime unless our country changes it course. Congress must provide the funding and leadership necessary to invest in research and ultimately save lives.”

Diabetes is a growing epidemic and is taking a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll. The national price tag for diabetes is $174 billion per year and that cost is estimated to almost triple in the next 25 years, according to the ADA.