Hailing from all 50 states, 180 JDRF Advocates traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month to say, “Thank You,” to Congress, during JDRF 2018 Government Day. Among those advocates were our JDRF Bay Area Chapter Board Advocacy Co-Chairs, Gabrielle Brits and Elena Lipkins.
In February, Congress passed the remainder of a two-year, $300 million renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which funds critical type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. This brings total program funding to T1D research to $2.8 billion.
This latest renewal, which runs through September 2019, represents a hard-won victory for the T1D community. For 18 months, our advocates kept the SDP–and the science it has advanced–top of mind for their elected representatives. As a direct result of this advocacy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released 17 requests for applications since February, calling for proposals for new, promising research to fund.
Gabrielle and Elena teamed up with the other California advocates, and planned 55 meetings with our government representatives to thank them for their support of the SDP. Together they glided through Capitol Hill with gratitude and hope for continued future support.
“It’s incredibly empowering to attend JDRF Gov Day. Learning more about the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) – this unique and critically important program – arms me with facts for the Congressional meetings,” says Elena Lipkins, JDRF Bay Area Advocacy Co-Chair. “The SDP enables ambitious projects that address treatments, complications, prevention, and potential cures for T1D. These are a key takeaways to spread the word to our local advocates back home, so they understand the life-changing breakthroughs in research the SDP will deliver.”
Gabrielle Brits and Elena Lipkins Receive Trail Blazer Award
The Government Day celebrations included the presentation of the JDRF “Trail Blazer” award. This year the award was given to both Gabrielle and Elena for their tireless hard work in JDRF Advocacy. “We were beyond thrilled to present Elena and Gabrielle with this award. The ‘Trail Blazer Award’ was given to just 4 volunteers (out of nearly 200) who have consistently been innovative with ways in which they infuse advocacy into One Walk, Gala, Summit, and beyond,” says Elena Purdy, JDRF Senior Manager, Grassroots Advocacy.
“We are just two moms on a mission to move that pendulum forward,” says Gabrielle Brits, JDRF Bay Area Advocacy Co-Chair. “Together with our amazing Greater Bay Area Chapter, stellar advocacy team and amazing advocate volunteers, we share this with all of you! JDRF is an amazing community and we hope to continue our efforts to take advocacy to the the next level.”
All of us at JDRF Bay Area are not surprised they received this award and are extremely appreciative for all they have done for our community. Thank you and congratulations, Gabrielle and Elena!
Become a JDRF Advocate!
You too can make a difference! Advocates help build and sustain critical support for T1D research funded by the Federal Government by raising awareness among Members of Congress of the financial, medical and emotional costs of the disease. Join us for Advocacy 101, an informational gathering on April 18 from 5:30-6:30 at our JDRF Bay Area office in San Francisco, and meet others in the T1D community. Elena and Gabrielle will present an overview of JDRF’s grassroots efforts and advocacy agenda. RSVP to Kathleen Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch this message from Elena and Gabrielle about Advocacy 101: