(Washington, D.C., Wednesday, July 10, 2019) – 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. The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a critical program that currently 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 February 2018 and is currently set to expire on September 30, 2019. 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 – cures for T1D.
JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will take place on July 8-10, 2019, in Washington, D.C. This is the 20th anniversary of the JDRF Children’s Congress.During the event, celebrities will advocate alongside Delegates, including Lauren Cox, Baylor University Women’s Basketball Player and 2019 NCAA Champion; Victor Garber, Emmy® and Tony® nominated actor; Christina Martin, professional dancer, motivational speaker and American Ninja Warrior; Ryan Reed, NASCAR Driver; Adam Schefter, sports broadcaster and NFL Analyst for ESPN; Jennifer Stone, actress; Derek Theler, actor; and Fiona Wylde, professional stand-up paddler and windsurfer.
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, 10 successful Children’s Congresses have been held, one every other year, and more than 1,000 kids with T1D have served as delegates.