Owen Hill will visit D.C. next month

Dover seventh-grader Owen Hill will represent Delaware at this year’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C.

Owen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few years ago.

“In the beginning, I had to get shots and test my blood sugar to figure out what it was. I had to go to the nurse at school a lot,” he said.

However, managing diabetes has recently become a little easier for Owen, thanks to new technology.

Owen monitors his blood sugar levels 24 hours a day with a Dexcom device, rather than the traditional frequent finger-pricking. The device works by inserting a tiny sensor wire under the skin, held in place by an adhesive. It transmits Owen’s glucose levels wirelessly.

“It shares the information with [our] phones, so we have constant readings and we know if he’s too high or too low,” Owen’s father, Kyle Hill, said. “To be honest, my wife and I had a hard time sleeping at night before, because he’d go really low and just sleep through it.”

Also, rather than injecting insulin to manage high blood sugar, Owen has another device that administers it automatically. The Omnipod stores up to three days’ worth of insulin in a small patch, typically worn on the arm or stomach, and releases it through a small tube that injects into the arm when a button is pressed. It administers a personalized amount of insulin at intervals around the clock, and additional doses when necessary.

“Thanks to research, Owen has these devices that make his life a little easier,” said Kyle Hill. “To be honest, there are a lot of families that don’t fully understand all the options out there, and that’s why JDRF does the research and outreach programs.”

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leading organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Owen will join a delegation of youth advocates ages 4 to 17 from all 50 states on Capitol Hill July 8-10. He’ll be lobbying members of Congress to support diabetes research, like the National Institutes of Health’s Special Diabetes Program.

Owen has already made contributions to the foundation, raising money though school fundraisers and participating in walks, and helping at the annual Delaware Hope Ball. He gained a little experience in talking to legislators in May, when Rep. Lyndon Yearick asked him to speak to the General Assembly about type 1 diabetes.

When not attending Postlethwait Middle School, Owen takes karate lessons and plays Fortnite. Math is his favorite school subject, and he wants to be a zookeeper. Owen also enjoys spending time with his family, which includes parents Kyle and Nicole Hill and his seven-year-old twin sisters.

“My family,” he said, “They help me get through my highs and lows, in any way possible.”

Find out more at JDRF.org.