Star of “House of Cards," Paul Sparks Advocates for Diabetes Research at the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress

Every Two Years, More Than 150 Children Living with Type 1 Diabetes Gather in Washington, D.C. for the JDRF Children’s Congress
Paul Sparks, Star of Netflix’s “House of Cards" and JDRF Celebrity Advocate

(Washington D.C., Tuesday, July 25, 2017) – Every two years, more than 150 children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) gather in Washington, D.C. for the JDRF Children’s Congress, to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government.

The children, who represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help Members of Congress understand what life with T1D is like and why research to fund life-changing therapies until a cure can be found is so critical.

This event is an unparalleled experience for the Delegates, who will visit with national lawmakers to raise awareness about T1D and appeal to Congress for the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, which accounts for one-third of all Federal funding for T1D research. The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a critical program that provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The SDP was most recently renewed by Congress in April 2015 and is currently set to expire on September 30, 2017. Renewal of the SDP is one of JDRF’s top legislative priorities, to ensure that promising SDP-funded research can continue delivering results toward better treatments, therapies, and – ultimately – a cure for T1D.

JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress will take place on July 24-26, 2017, in Washington, D.C. During the event, celebrities will advocate alongside Delegates, including Cristina Alesci, CNN television and digital correspondent, Brandon Denson, football player, trainer and educator, Brec Bassinger, actress and star of Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs,” Austin Basis, actor and star of CW’s award-winning drama “Beauty and the Beast,” Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes hockey player, Charlie Kimball, race and award-winning IndyCar driver, Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, journalist, and author, Paul Sparks, actor and star of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” and Cory Vaughn, Atlantic League Maryland Blue Crabs baseball player.

The JDRF Children’s Congress T1D advocacy program was inspired by a boy from Massachusetts named Tommy Solo. One day, at age nine, he asked his mother, “Why can’t kids go to Washington and tell their Representatives about what it is like to have type 1 diabetes and let them know that we want scientists to find a cure?” His mom and other JDRF volunteers agreed and, in 1999, the first-ever JDRF Children’s Congress took place in Washington, D.C. Since then, nine successful Children’s Congresses have been held, one every other year, and more than 1,000 kids with T1D have served as delegates.



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