JDRF Celebrity AmbassadorsJDRF Celebrity Ambassadors are an extraordinary group of talented and passionate individuals, who have achieved success in the entertainment and sports industries. While all of their achievements are quite notable, what’s most compelling is their passion and commitment to become role models and have a positive impact on the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community. Each ambassador has a personal story and connection to T1D which has inspired them to share their talent and their voice to raise awareness and funding for important research to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its’ complications.
Anne BurrellChef, TV Personality, Author & Restaurateur
With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has been sharing her passion for food and cooking with America and isn’t slowing down. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and studied the culinary traditions of Italy. She is also host of the Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America and Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, where she mentors a team of celebrities who are in serious need of some cooking pointers. Anne has battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Iron Chef America and is a New York Times best-selling author with her cookbook Cook Like a Rock Star. Her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower, was released in 2013. In September 2016, Anne opened her first owned and operated restaurant, Phil & Anne’s Good Time Lounge, in Brooklyn, New York.
Anne has demonstrated her passion and dedication as an advocate, leveraging her roles on the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef and Chopped All-Stars Tournament to raise awareness and funding for T1D research.
Brec Bassinger is best known for her starring role as Bella Dawson on Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs. Born and raised in Saginaw, TX, Brec began her career in entertainment after winning the world title in the Our Little Miss pageant at the age of 10. After three years of acting classes, she ventured on to Hollywood where she quickly landed a starring role in The Haunted Hathaways. Since then, she has appeared in the Nickelodeon television film Liar, Liar, Vampire and recently filmed the new movie, Status Update, which is coming to theaters in 2017.
Brec was diagnosed with T1D when she was eight years old. When she’s not in front of the camera filming, she’s lending her voice and dedicating her time to T1D advocacy. From JDRF One Walk events to galas and media interviews, Brec uses every platform to raise awareness and inspire the T1D community.
Adam SchefterNFL Insider
Adam Schefter has covered the NFL since 1990 and is regarded as one of the top reporters in the industry, especially when it comes to breaking news. He joined ESPN in 2009 as a sports writer and NFL analyst appearing on a variety of programs, including NFL Insiders, NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter. Named “the most influential New Yorker on Twitter,” Adam has acquired a remarkable 5+ million followers. Sports Illustrated’s NFL site, The MMQB, also named him the 2014 Media Person of the Year for breaking multiple significant stories during the NFL’s free-agent period and offseason.
Adam’s influence extends well beyond sports news. The native New Yorker is a father, husband and a staunch supporter of T1D advocacy, lending his support to a number of JDRF awareness and fundraising initiatives including Children’s Congress, National Diabetes Awareness Month and the New York JDRF Chapter’s annual Promise Ball Gala.
With a highly coveted lifetime membership in the Actors Studio, multifaceted comedy actor Austin Basis has become one of the hottest breakout stars of primetime television, landing leading roles in CW’s award-winning drama/sci-fi series Beauty and the Beast, as well as Life Unexpected, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Supernatural, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and NCIS.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Austin was diagnosed with T1D when he was just eight years old. Throughout his acting career, he has worked hard to maintain his health due to working very long hours on the set. Austin tests his blood sugar seven to eight times a day, while working around a chaotic schedule. He also wears an insulin pump, which allows for more accurate management and freedom from the burden of daily injections. Living and working with T1D from such a young age has inspired Austin to become a strong advocate for diabetes research. As a JDRF Ambassador, he continues to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to raise awareness and enhance fundraising for T1D research.
Jake ByrneProfessional Football Player, Author & Mentor
Jake Byrne, diagnosed with T1D at the age of fourteen, has been proactively combating the disease and mentoring young people with the disease. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also played for the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
Jake has been involved in a number of JDRF events including JDRF One Walk and galas. Since his retirement from the NFL, he has served as a mentor and supporter for JDRF’s program for newly diagnosed youth. He has also authored an inspirational book titled First and Goal, which talks about persevering and overcoming obstacles to reach personal goals. Jake grew up in Rogers, AR, and now resides in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo and Yeti the Great Dane.
Conor DalyProfessional Race Car Driver
Professional IndyCar driver, Conor Daly, has been racing cars since the age of 10. He comes by his skill and passion naturally as the son of professional race car driver Derek Daly, who reached the pinnacle of the sport, competing in Formula One and IndyCar for well over a decade. Continuing his father’s legacy, Conor has competed in GP3, GP2, won the Indy Lights race at Long Beach in 2011 and made his IndyCar debut for A.J. Foyt Racing in the 2013 Indianapolis 500. He now competes full time in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing.
Twenty-four-year-old Conor was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 14. Since his diagnosis, he has dedicated his time to making an impact on others by raising awareness about diabetes and showing how you can manage the disease while pursuing personal goals. His passion led him to partner with JDRF to continue to drive awareness about T1D and support fundraising, advocacy and education initiatives.
Brandon DensonFootball Player, Trainer & Educator
Brandon Denson was a star linebacker for Michigan State University. He walked on the team as a freshman, and during his sophomore year earned a full scholarship for his remaining collegiate years. After graduating, Brandon played for three years in the Canadian Football League. He is currently Assistant Defensive Coordinator at Detroit’s Voyageur College Prep and a personal trainer and mentor at Dogs 4 Life. He recently competed on NBC’s hit TV show, American Ninja Warrior.
Brandon was diagnosed with T1D in 2004 during his senior year of high school. Living with T1D as a professional athlete has motivated him to show others how to overcome the challenges associated with the disease. He continues to raise awareness and inspire the T1D community as he speaks all over North America about T1D, his experiences as a collegiate and professional athlete and how to tackle T1D in everyday life.
Taylor LoudermanActress & Broadway Star
Taylor Louderman originated her starring role in the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Bring It On. She has also starred in other theatrical productions including: Grease, Hairspray and Legally Blonde and more recently as Wendy Darling on NBC’s Peter Pan Live.
When Taylor is not on the stage performing, she dedicates her time to raising awareness and lending her support to fundraising initiatives for research to achieve a world without T1D for her younger sister and the T1D community.
Elliott YaminSinger & Songwriter
Elliott Yamin launched his recording career following his appearance on American Idol as one of the top three finalists. His highly anticipated album, Elliott Yamin, debuted at Number 3 on the Billboard album chart and was the highest-debuting album by an independent artist in Sound Scan history. The self-titled disc achieved gold status in the U.S. and Japan, yielding the platinum hit, “Wait for You.” Hailed as one of the best male vocalists, Elliott would go on to release three more albums including the most recent collection As Time Goes By.
Having been diagnosed with T1D at the age of 16, Elliott has worked tirelessly to use his platform for advocacy, serving as a spokesperson to create awareness and raise funds for research.