Diabetes Forecast

People to Know 2017: Amelia Cooper

By Paul B. Madden, MEd ,

Amelia Cooper
Photograph courtesy of Office of Senator Claire McCaskill

Most teens would rather hang with their peers than advocate for people four times their age. But at 15, Amelia Cooper, who has type 1 diabetes, testified in front of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, urging senators to consider Medicare coverage for continuous glucose monitors.

In the fall of 2016, Amelia headed to Washington again, this time as a Senate page—the first with diabetes. During 18-hour days, she balanced school with Senate work: running between buildings on the Hill one day, sitting in an office the next, and staying on the Senate floor until 5 a.m. the day after that. Add in living away from home, and diabetes management was trickier. But Amelia quickly adapted.

A highlight of her work was counting the votes that passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a December 2016 law designating $6.3 billion in funding for public health and research. “I know how huge the Cures Act will be to funding diabetes research,” she says.

She’ll call upon these experiences once she graduates from her Kansas City, Missouri, high school in 2018. Amelia, now 17, hopes to become a doctor or work in public health—she’s already the youngest writer to have a feature published in the journal Missouri Medicine. Whatever she does, Amelia is sure to be an inspiration to all.

The Author: Paul B. Madden, MEd, has worked with a number of diabetes organizations, including the Joslin Diabetes Center, JDRF, Children With Diabetes, and more. Now, as director of type 1 and type 2 diabetes at the American Diabetes Association, he develops programs to help improve the health and lives of people with diabetes. He’s lived with type 1 diabetes for 55 years.



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