ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - Jan 8, 2013) - The American Diabetes Association (Association) is pleased to announce Heather Berg, 18, as the Association's 2013 National Youth Advocate. Heather, of Kent, WA, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 10 years old. Heather's younger brother was diagnosed a year and a half earlier, marking the beginning of Heather and her family's personal mission to Stop Diabetes®.
Since 2008, Heather has been actively involved with her local American Diabetes Association office. As a participant in the Association's local teen advocacy program, Heather has annually attended Diabetes Day at the Washington State Capitol, visiting with state senators and representatives, and volunteered at American Diabetes Association EXPO and the Family Link program, Family Retreat. In addition, Heather has taken on a number of city council speaking engagements stressing the importance of diabetes awareness and has secured proclamations declaring November as American Diabetes Month in the cities of Renton and Kent, WA. In her role as the National Youth Advocate, Heather will continue her advocacy efforts by traveling the country to speak about the Association's Safe at School campaign, helping to ensure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and that they have the same educational opportunities as their classmates.
"Heather Berg's commitment to the fight to Stop Diabetes is evident through her active participation in diabetes advocacy efforts in her local community. The Association is pleased to welcome Heather as our 2013 National Youth Advocate," said Karen Talmadge, PhD, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. "In the coming year, Heather's efforts as the National Youth Advocate will provide inspiration to millions of Americans living with diabetes. Her leadership will be essential in advancing our national advocacy priorities, including increasing federal funding for diabetes research and prevention programs, expanding access to quality health care and preventing discrimination against people with diabetes."
Heather, a senior at Kennedy Catholic High School, has also been active in her school with diabetes fundraising and awareness efforts for years. Most recently, Heather organized and hosted a Stop Diabetes fundraiser to support her local Association office. In addition, she is active in her school's Healthy Living club, cheerleading team and Spanish Honors Society.
"There are so many people who have touched my life, especially through my involvement with the diabetes community and my local American Diabetes Association office," said Heather Berg. "I am very excited to further my work with the Association as the 2013 National Youth Advocate and look forward to making a difference in the nationwide effort to Stop Diabetes."
In the U.S., nearly 26 million adults and children are living with diabetes. In addition, 79 million have prediabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations in adults. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050, unless we take the steps to Stop Diabetes.
To learn more about Heather Berg and the Association's advocacy efforts, please visit www.diabetes.org/nya.
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org.