Meet Your JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress Bay Area Delegates!

JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress will take place from July 8-10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Every two years, more than 160 children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) gather in Washington, D.C., to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The delegates in JDRF’s Children’s Congress 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. They speak up on behalf of the millions of people living with T1D and the families and friends who love them. Congratulations to our JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress Delegates from the JDRF Greater Bay Area Chapter:

Jonah Cohen

Age: 11
Age at T1D diagnosis: 9

In the two years since Jonah was diagnosed with T1D, he has made a lasting impression on his local community including his Members of Congress. Jonah spreads the word about T1D everywhere he goes, and even posts videos of his presentations on his YouTube channel. In 2018, Jonah was invited by now Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to talk about the need for insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions and how T1D treatments need to be affordable for everyone. Jonah says, “a dream I have is for there to not be a single soul living with T1D.” When not in school or working to increase awareness about T1D, Jonah can be found doing Krav Maga or playing the piano.

Jamie Kurtzig

Age: 15
Age at T1D diagnosis: 1

When Jamie decides to do something, she really commits to it. She started playing the violin four years ago, and is now the associate concertmaster of the Marin Symphony Youth Crescendo Orchestra, in addition to playing with a chamber music group and performing arts festivals. Jamie loves writing poetry, taekwondo (she is a 2nd degree black belt), fencing, spending time with friends and family and traveling to new, exciting places. Her biggest commitment, though, is helping to raise awareness about T1D and advocating for the community, which she’s done by leading JDRF One Walk events, being a Youth Ambassador at TypeOneNation Summits and writing a JDRF blog. In 2018, Jamie was the Fund A Cure speaker at the JDRF Hope Gala and received the “Living and Giving” award with her family by the Greater Bay Area chapter—and the event raised over $2.8 million. Jamie is excited to join Children’s Congress. “I dream of a world without type 1 diabetes. I know we can make it happen. Let’s make T1D history together!”

Jeremy May

Age: 17
Age at T1D diagnosis: 11

Jeremy is an active high school junior who enjoys spending time with his friends and snowboarding, and hopes to have a career in either zoology or marine biology. Jeremy has also participated in many JDRF One Walk events, helped chair the San Francisco One Walk, and has served as a mentor and JDRF Youth Ambassador. Jeremy is an avid T1D advocate—doing everything he can to raise awareness within his community—and looks forward to bringing his proactive attitude to D.C. “Whatever I end up doing in life, it will involve helping people and leading them in a positive direction. I want to make an impact.”

Thomas Screven

Age: 16
Age at T1D diagnosis: 4

Thomas has been active since he was little playing soccer, baseball, flag football and basketball. Thomas says that what he enjoys the most about sports is the element of teamwork, and groups of people who are all working together toward a common goal. In addition to athletics, Thomas has been very involved with JDRF, participating in JDRF One Walk events and serving as a mentor as a part of the Dia-buddies program. Thomas looks forward to coming to Washington to be a part of a new team that’s working toward the common goal of making sure he and his fellow members of the T1D community are provided with the best care possible.

Children making history

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. JDRF Children’s Congress has been essential to securing continued government funding of T1D research and to raise awareness of the daily burden of Americans living with this serious autoimmune disease.

Delegates form lifelong friendships, meet T1D role models, develop leadership skills, and leave Children’s Congress empowered to use their voices for the change that will improve their lives and the lives of all people affected by T1D.

You can help! Send a message to your Representative here and Senators here encouraging them to to support their  constituents with T1D by signing the SDP letter, and bring us closer to a cure.