2003 "Chair Dad" Rik Bonness
Rik Bonness is the 2003 JDRF Children's Congress "chair dad." He is an attorney and former NFL linebacker from Omaha, Nebraska. He talked with JDRF kid reporter Rebecca Guiterman before Children's Congress in June.
Q. Why are you involved with JDRF?
A. I have two sons with diabetes [Eric, 17, and Alex, 15]. Alex was 4 when he was diagnosed. Three years later, Eric was diagnosed. I decided to help find a cure.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish as chair dad, and what are your goals for this year's Children's Congress?
A. I have many goals for the Children's Congress. I hope to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and the need for a cure. I also hope to convince Congress to support islet cell transplantation. In addition, I would like to say thank you to Congress for their support in the past. Last, I want to do my part to fulfill the opportunities in the Children's Congress.
Q. What are your responsibilities during the Children's Congress?
A. As the chair dad, I greet people and welcome them to the various activities. My job is basically like everyone else's.
Q. What do you think will be the biggest obstacle before a cure is reached?
A. I think the biggest obstacle will be raising money to support research to surpass the final hurdles to a cure. Also, we need to educate Congress and increase public awareness of type 1 diabetes.
Q. Do you think that your sons have the same chance that you did at playing in the NFL, or will diabetes affect them?
A. My sons are not interested in football. But if they were, diabetes would not stop them from playing football or doing anything they want to do.
Q. Short of a total cure, what would you most like to see change in your children's lives?
A. I am not going to be satisfied until there is a cure. JDRF is not about a compromise; it's about achieving the final goal, which is a cure. I know we can do it!