My passion for public service exists because of my little brother, Murphy.
Murphy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2005 when he was eleven years old. Always smart for his age, he quickly starting researching potential cures for Type 1 Diabetes which led him to the concept of stem cell research and the federal ban on that research that had been implemented. As I left for college in 2007, I decided that I needed to study politics at school so that one day I could possibly help fight for causes like lifting the stem cell research ban. I thought that would happen after I finished college. However, it was my little brother that told me about something that was going on in the world that I had to know about -- the candidacy of Barack Obama. I heard him speak passionately about the need to take advantage of modern technology and science to help alleviate some of our nation’s problems. I knew I had to get involved.
That is why I took time off from college to be a field organizer for Obama's campaign in 2008 in Steamboat Springs. Murphy, then age 14, was by far my best volunteer. When he talked to voters much older than he was, he would speak about science and stem cell research, but his pitch was never about him. He would only speak of the thousands of young children like him who could benefit from a change in policy and the advances health insurance reform and scientific research investments could bring. My most cherished memory with Murphy will be the phone call I made to him in March 2009 after the federal ban on stem cell research was lifted by President Obama.
In 2013, Murphy began his studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. He was passionate about serving his country and since his diabetes prevented military service, he was studying global terror and international conflict with dreams of working for the State Department one day.
In August 2016, Murphy was struck with a Type 1 diabetic seizure while hiking. He fell and incurred a brain injury that took his life the next day. He was twenty-two years old.
Murphy inspired me to fight for change and to always be asking what could be done for others. He was and will always be my inspiration. He challenged me and challenged everyone around him to see the best in people and to stand up for what you believe. Running for office and serving in the Legislature is a tall task, but I am throwing my hat into the ring so that I can fight for Colorado's future, all while knowing I would never be in this position if it were not for the passion and dedication for service that Murphy showed me.
In 2017, The Colorado Democratic Party established the Annual Murphy Roberts Young Volunteer of the Year Award to honor Murphy's enthusiasm for political engagement and to inspire other young Coloradans to pick up a clipboard and get involved in their local communities.