Ten year old Youth Ambassador Danny Herivel worked the room like a seasoned politician at the recent NSW Government Community Cabinet meeting in his home town of Newcastle.
Dan discussed type 1 diabetes with 11 of the 22 Ministers who attended, including the Health Minister and the Minister for Science and Medical Research. And he didn’t miss a beat when the Premier, the Hon. Nathan Rees MP, walked over to say “You must be Danny”.
Dan’s mum Julie reported that Dan was ‘a breath of fresh air at the meeting’. It seems that most of the Ministers knew about JDRF and were receptive. Like many in the community, some of the politicians mixed up type 1 with type 2 diabetes but Dan was quick to point out the difference. Hearing about type 1 from such an eloquent YA, the politicians are unlikely to make that mistake again.
Dan was pleased to hear such positive responses from the politicians. One Minister had been on the Walk, another to a Research Dinner. Others talked about their Promise to Remember Me advocates and Kids in the House. “It was so good for him to see that he and the other YAs are making a difference by standing up for type 1,” said Julie.
Dan’s parents believe that the meetings will be productive in more ways than one. “Dan did a fantastic job of raising awareness and it was also really good for his self esteem. Amongst all the attention he conducted himself really well. Even people waiting with us in the queues to meet the Ministers were talking about type 1 diabetes,” said Dan’s dad, Brad.
Dan didn’t forget fundraising while he was on duty as an advocate. The Superintendent of the Newcastle Fire Department invited him to visit the station and talk to the officers about fundraising help for the Walk to Cure Diabetes.
Having attracted attention from the local radio station and newspaper, Dan was able to share the message with his community as well. Perhaps in a few years he will be sitting on the other side of the politician’s desk?