JDRF Youth Advocacy Leader: Abby Swank


Abby Swank was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on New Year’s Day of 2014, at the age of four. Since her diagnosis, Abby and her family have become active participants at the JDRF Northern CA Inland Chapter, in order to help raise awareness and funding for research and advocacy for T1D.

Abby and her mom saw a posting on the JDRF website last summer about the Youth Advocacy Leadership Program (YAL) and since she had already met a few of the requirements, she thought it would be fun to complete the steps to earn her YAL certificate.  In order to earn a YAL certificate, you must complete four out of the five advocacy challenges listed on the JDRF advocacy web page. First, Abby recruited five of her friends and family to become JDRF advocates to help spread the word about Type 1 Diabetes. Another requirement she met was to participate in a JDRF event.

Over the last four years, Team Swank has raised over $35,000 and last year had over 80 walkers out to support the T1D community at the Sacramento One Walk. Abby also got involved in JDRF advocacy online with the help of her parents by liking and posting about JDRF advocacy on Facebook, and she participated in an online discussion on typeonenation.org to help give suggestions to newly diagnosed T1Ds.

Abby met her final requirement by speaking to her Girl Scout Brownie Troop about Type 1 Diabetes, how she cares for herself and the importance of fundraising for Type 1 Diabetes. Some of her Girl Scout sisters helped fundraise and participated in the One Walk with Abby. Abby feels proud that she earned her Youth Advocacy Leader certificate and enjoys helping her T1D community.

For more information on the Youth Advocacy Leadership program and how to certify, view the application here.  To get involved with advocacy efforts at JDRF, visit our website at JDRF Advocacy.



Written By: Lorena Bergstrom