Madison's Mission: $50m for diabetes research

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Madison’s Mission: Korowa Anglican Girls’ School student helps raise more than $50 million for Type 1 Diabetes Research

In August last year, Madison Sparrow, a Year 9 student from Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, visited Canberra to advocate on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) for research funding.

Over the past two years, JDRF advocates and their families have held over 200 meetings with local MPs, decision makers and stakeholders. Over 100 advocates, their families and JDRF staff descended on Parliament House in August 2018, to remind federal politicians of the importance of research funding as part of their Kids in the House program.

In January this year, Madison learned that the Australian Labor Party had committed to providing $50 million funding over five years for the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network (CRN), if elected to power in the 2019 election.

“I am thrilled with the news. The Kids in the House experience was eye-opening and something that I’ve never done before,” Madison said. While she is in close contact with her local MP Kelly O’Dwyer, she said that it was an opportunity to reach further than her electorate. “It was a chance to help with something bigger than my electorate, to help people all over Australia.”

In February this year, the Liberal National Government committed to continue support of the CRN. The $54.5 million over five years will continue the work of the Network, most recently supported by a $35 million injection by the Government in 2014. 

“We congratulate Madison on her persistence and drive,” Principal Helen Carmody said. “She has shown great confidence in speaking in front of all the politicians in Parliament. Madison has demonstrated the Korowa value of service through her advocacy. This is an incredible achievement and we are very proud of Madison.”  

Madison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2012. The next JDRF Kids in the House will be held in 2023. To date, the CRN has ensured over 13,000 Australians have contributed to a greater understanding of Type 1 Diabetes and has seen eleven world first studies being conducted here in Australia.

Madison, right, her fellow JDRF advocates and ALP Leader Bill Shorten.