Stars Unite on Capitol Hill to Fight Type 1 Diabetes With JDRF

Entertainment, Fashion, and Sports Personalities to Join More than 160 Youth Delegates with Type 1 Diabetes at the 2023 JDRF Children’s Congress, July 9-11

Delegates and families to advocate for renewal of the Special Diabetes Program and affordable insulin

More than 1.4 million Americans live with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, is thrilled to announce the 2023 JDRF Children’s Congress, a three-day Washington D.C event that will bring children living with T1D face-to-face with lawmakers and top decision-makers. Youth delegates from across the country, as well as JDRF’s five international affiliates, will be joined by celebrity advocates to call on congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) and advocate for policies to ensure insulin is available at an affordable and predictable price.

The SDP has accelerated the pace of T1D research through a long-term investment of funding at the National Institutes of Health. The program has led to significant scientific breakthroughs, including Tzield, the first disease-modifying treatment for T1D, which can delay the onset of the disease by over two years. Without Congressional action, the SDP will expire at the end of September.

“The Special Diabetes Program has supported critical research that has moved us closer than ever to new treatments for type 1 diabetes and its complications and ultimately cures,” said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF CEO. “It’s exciting to be with our 2023 Children’s Congress delegates, who are amazing champions and advocates for continued T1D progress. JDRF is particularly grateful to our celebrity advocates for adding their voices to this fight. Their influence and personal experiences are invaluable in raising awareness about type 1 diabetes and the critical need to further research.”

Established in 1999, and held biennially, the 2023 JDRF Children’s Congress marks the return of the event following a hiatus due to the pandemic. The event will shine a spotlight on the delegates’ personal stories as well as nine volunteer celebrity advocates. The celebrity advocates are accomplished individuals in sports, entertainment, and media, who are living with T1D or have a loved one with the disease. They will share their experiences with the delegates during an interactive town hall on Monday, July 10 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. 

“Type 1 diabetes has had a significant impact on me and my family,” said Orlando Brown, Jr., NFL Super Bowl champion. “I experienced the sudden loss of my father to ketoacidosis, and my younger brother was diagnosed with T1D at 11 years old. Like many newly diagnosed families, we faced uncertainties and overcame stigmas associated with a lack of information and understanding about the disease. However, thanks to T1D research, we found peace and hope to one day cure this disease. Children’s Congress is an opportunity to share my family’s story to help educate others about T1D and advocate for continued support.”

JDRF 2023 Children’s Congress Celebrity Advocates

  • Orlando Brown, Jr. – NFL Super Bowl champion, brother and late father diagnosed with T1D
  • Katie Bone – American Ninja Warrior Women’s champion, lives with T1D
  • Madison Carter – Broadcast journalist, lives with T1D
  • Susan Fong – Rendering and dailies supervisor of Pixar Animation Studios “Turning Red,” lives with T1D
  •  Antoine Gibson – Saxophonist and music arranger, lives with T1D
  • Jimmy Jam – Producer, songwriter, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, T1D parent
  • Bambi Northwood-Blyth – International supermodel, lives with T1D
  • Adam Schefter – Senior NFL Insider at ESPN, wife Sharri lives with T1D
  •  Derek Theler – Actor and producer, lives with T1D

About JDRF

JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally and globally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a global stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement, and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)

T1D is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all. This leads to dependence on insulin therapy and the risk of short or long-term complications, which can include highs and lows in blood sugar; damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart; and even death if left untreated. Globally, it impacts nearly 9 million people. Many believe T1D is only diagnosed in childhood and adolescence, but diagnosis in adulthood is common and accounts for nearly 50% of all T1D diagnoses. The onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. There is currently no cure for T1D.


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