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
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