American Diabetes Association Announces Heather Berg as the 2013 National Youth Advocate

Alexandria,VA,
January 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.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)