SPRINGFIELD – House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), along with state Reps. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), and Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), announced the formation of a bipartisan legislative Diabetes Caucus on Thursday to bring heightened awareness to the growing diabetes epidemic in Illinois.
“Diabetes is a disease that affects a growing number of Illinois families each year,” said Cross. “Today almost 10 percent of Illinoisans suffer from either Type I or Type II diabetes, and this new caucus will bring a bipartisan approach to diabetes prevention, awareness and treatment.”
For most of the eight members of the caucus steering committee, the issue of diabetes is a very personal one. Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2006. “Living with diabetes has been life-changing,” said Tryon. “Through my own research I have found that many Illinois families struggle to find sufficient information and resources that can help them manage symptoms and maintain a maximum quality of life.”
For Leader Cross and Representative Jim Durkin (R-LaGrange), diabetes affects family members. Both have children with Type I diabetes. “The steering committee is off to a great start and we’ve been meeting regularly since January,” said Durkin. “I have no doubt that this caucus will provide many tools to help families manage the symptoms and care of their loved ones.”
Representative Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago) represents District 4, which includes Humboldt Park. According to Soto, Humboldt Park has been identified as the community with the highest percentage of people living with diabetes in the state. “Along with my colleagues and diabetes caucus members, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and bring clear awareness and education to our state and to the people and families affected by this issue,” she said.
Cross said an invitation will be extended to other legislators to join the caucus. He also said they have been approached by many corporate and non-profit agencies that are willing to help with outreach efforts.
According to Cross, the steering committee’s goals include:
Seek needed legislation and evaluate filed legislation that affects people with diabetes.
Promote prevention education, available treatments and public programs that assist people with diabetes.
Reach out to agencies that assist people with diabetes.
Engage in outreach efforts between the caucus, its supporting agencies and people who suffer from diabetes.