Ray Allen, Champion for Diabetes Research, Goes Back to Washington

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Ray Allen, Champion for Diabetes Research, Goes Back to Washington
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Ray Allen has been an advocate for diabetes research since prior to his first championship with Boston.

Three weeks after he made one of the most challenging, significant, memorable shots in NBA history, Ray Allen took a shot at accomplishing an even more difficult feat: convincing Congress to back something on a bipartisan basis. 

On July 10, the Miami Heat guard was on Capitol Hill, serving as a witness before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He was there to advocate for a renewal of the $150 million in annual funding for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Special Diabetes Program (SDP) beyond the current expiration date of Sept. 30, 2014. Juvenile diabetes has been the cause closest to Allen's heart, since his son Walker was diagnosed with the disease in 2008. 

Prior to returning to Washington D.C. for a preseason game against the Wizards, Allen spoke to Bleacher Report about his experience. 

"It was a pretty amazing time, because there were kids from over all the world, Europe, Asia, Australia, and we sit down and all these kids are sitting in the lower bowl," Allen said. "And the Senate Committee is sitting up in their chairs. We had scientists up there talking about the advancements that have been made. We each spoke, and then they asked questions about how it affected my life and how we deal with it, how it affected my profession, what I see with kids moving forward."

But looking back, Allen was even more amazed by other things he saw. 

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"Before that, I sat in with Senator (Bill) Nelson from Florida," Allen said. "You see all these Senate advisers, and they got these clipboards, and got this list of things that their Senator needs to do. They keep a busy schedule all day long. And that's how my day was. It was like, 'Okay, we've got to go here and see this Senator. We've got to go see the Congresswoman from the district in Miami.' It was 'stop here, stop there.'"

His overall impression?

"To me, it seemed so cumbersome, just from the standpoint of every Congressperson or Senator that I visited, they have like 30 or 40 staff members," Allen said. "It just seemed like there's so much stuff going on and they are being pulled in so many different directions, that it seems like it could run a little bit smoother, but I just don't know how. Because you are representing so many people from your state, from your region. When you go visit, you almost have a greater appreciation. Because we expect our lawmakers to know and to do certain things. And some things are easily falling through the cracks, because so much stuff is coming on the table.

"We have to make sure we do a better job on things we don't like, make sure that we do send letters, and make sure they are heard properly and they're attended to."

In his case, he made sure to set aside some of his summer to make his points in person. 

So what happened? 

"Well, I haven't officially heard, but I'm assuming we did get the funding," Allen said.

Of course, with Congress, it's never safe to assume anything. 

Ethan Skolnick covers the Miami Heat and NBA for Bleacher Report.

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