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Local boy with type one diabetes travelling to D.C. to talk with lawmakers

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(WKEF/WRGT) - A local 12-year-old boy will be traveling to Washington D.C. this weekend to speak with top lawmakers. As a type one diabetic, Paul Neinaber is a member of JDRF, a leading type one diabetes organization. Recently he was accepted into their Children’s Congress, a program that allows children with type one diabetes to share their experiences and make a difference.

At 3 years old, Paul Neinaber was diagnosed with type one diabetes, which means his pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Every single day he must constantly check blood sugar levels, and every single day they rise and fall. The simplest activities, like throwing a ball or playing video games, affect this. “Even just from eating breakfast you can go up and then down,” Paul said. “It’s just how it works.”

His mom, Brenda Neinaber, said it hasn’t been easy to watch. “If all the kids are out playing and he has a low blood sugar, he’s in here with a juice box watching them out the window,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Even at 12 years old, she’s worried about when he goes to college. “What if his roommate isn’t responsible? What if his roommate is out doing whatever and Paul has a low in the middle of the night?”

Shortly after Paul’s diagnosis, Brenda discovered JDRF, an organization that raises money for type one diabetes research. “We would love to say one day that we found the cure and that no one in the world has type one diabetes,” said senior development manager Nick Wagner. Throughout the year JDRF raises about $125 million from various fundraisers and events, but they rely heavily on a $150 million grant from the federal government. That grant is set to expire in September, and without it, JDRF can’t function the way it does.

That’s exactly what Paul and 149 other members of the Children’s Congress will tell lawmakers when they travel to the nation’s capital.

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