Mr. Perry goes to Washington: Santa Rosa Beach teen raises awareness about diabetes

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 05:13 PM.

The Perry family recently moved to Santa Rosa Beach, from Birmingham, as Chris has taken the role of senior pastor at Good News United Methodist Church.

Now 13 years old, Caleb takes his insulin shots and tracks his sugar intake, but doesn't let his diabetes control his life. He plays football, basketball, is a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo as well as practices samurai sword art.

"I can't change it," Caleb said of his diagnosis. "I try not to dwell on that. I regularly check my blood sugars. I decided I would not let diabetes stop me."

He decided to become a voice for individuals fighting the disease. Through the "Promise to Remember Me" campaign with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Caleb met with state representatives and senators to advocate for proper funding to go toward research, treatments, prevention and ultimately a cure.

"Even though there currently isn't a cure, we can continue to find one," he said.

Earlier last month from July 8-10, Caleb took his advocacy to Washington where he was chosen from 1,500 applicants to represent the state of Alabama in the JDRF Children's Congress. Caleb met with several state senators and Vice President Joe Biden. He stood up and shared his personal account of diabetes with JDRF chief scientist, Richard Insel. It was intimidating to speak to the room of strangers, but an important thing to do, Caleb said.

"I knew if I didn't do it, I would be disappointing the kids in Alabama with diabetes," he said.

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