JDRF Announces National Volunteer Award Recipients at Annual One Conference



New York, Feb. 7, 2024—JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, proudly presented awards to five outstanding volunteer leaders whose impact has pushed JDRF’s mission forward. The volunteers were recognized with the awards at JDRF’s annual One Conference on Feb. 6, 2024. Award recipients include:

  • Liz Chang, Carol and Erwin Lurie Award
  • Jennie Costner, Huntsman Family Community Engagement Award
  • Paul Heath, Jim Tyree Award
  • Margery Perry, Gerald Fishbone Award
  • Adam Singer, John Brady Award for Innovation

“For over 50 years, JDRF’s progress has been fueled by strong, passionate volunteer leaders,” said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF CEO. “It’s an honor to recognize the dedication and contributions of these five exceptional individuals and present them with these well-deserved awards. We extend our deepest gratitude for their commitment to JDRF’s mission and the broader type 1 diabetes community.”

Carol and Erwin Lurie Award
Named after Carol and Erwin Lurie, who helped found JDRF in 1970, the Carol and Erwin Lurie Award is presented to a chapter volunteer whose commitment to the volunteer/staff partnership has significantly advanced the mission and strategic priorities of JDRF over the past fiscal year. JDRF celebrates Liz Chang’s 10 years of dedicated service and unwavering commitment to raising funds for T1D research.

Liz and her family became involved with JDRF in 2013, shortly after her son was diagnosed with T1D. Since that time, she has made a tremendous impact serving in various roles within the Greater New England Chapter. She and her husband Joe served as the chapter’s 2023 gala honorees, and she currently serves as co-chair of the corporate development committee and co-captain of Team Agony of Duhfeet in the Ragnar Reach the Beach Relay. In addition, Liz is a former board president, board member, and nominating and board development committee member.

A consummate volunteer partner, Liz consistently builds strong relationships and galvanizes her personal and professional networks in support of a shared mission to accelerate life-changing T1D breakthroughs. Through her Ragnar Reach the Beach Relay team, Liz has raised more than $1 million for T1D research. She possesses an unparalleled passion for fundraising and played a pivotal role in the chapter’s record-breaking success at the 2023 gala. Liz’s relentless pursuit of a cure serves as an inspiration for those around her.

Huntsman Family Community Engagement Award
The Huntsman Family Community Engagement Award recognizes a volunteer who has made an impactful contribution to the T1D community by fostering a sense of community and engagement with the larger JDRF family and empowering individuals to make a difference in their own lives. JDRF honors Jennie Costner for her avid support of the T1D community, invaluable mentorship of advocacy team chairs, and exceptional leadership as national chair of the Grassroots Leadership Team.

Jennie became involved with JDRF in 2003, shortly after her daughter was diagnosed with T1D. She currently serves as a member of the Grassroots Leadership Team and advocacy pillar lead within JDRF’s Global Mission Board. She is actively involved in JDRF’s North Carolina Chapter, where she is a member of the board of directors and participates in outreach, fundraising, and awareness-raising activities.

In 2020, Jennie was asked to serve as the national chair of the Grassroots Leadership Team for JDRF Advocacy. Her impactful leadership was vital to the program’s success as she persevered with adaptability and strength during a time filled with uncertainty. Over the course of her tenure, Jennie mobilized and mentored leaders, improved uses of technology, and championed policy and legislation to support the T1D community, while leading with a mission-focused perspective. Jennie is a collaborative and inclusive volunteer partner, whose fearless direction and continued engagement have had a positive impact across JDRF and the T1D community.

Jim Tyree Award
The Jim Tyree Award recognizes a volunteer leader who has made a significant and noteworthy contribution to JDRF during their tenure of service. JDRF celebrates Paul Heath’s visionary leadership and groundbreaking contributions to the global T1D community.

Paul began his involvement with JDRF in 2012 after his daughter was diagnosed with T1D. He has worn many hats within the organization, both in JDRF Australia and JDRF International. Paul currently serves on the National Advocacy and Impact Committee and Directors Emeritus and is a former member of both JDRF International and JDRF Australia Boards of Directors. He has served as chair and vice chair of the JDRF Australia Board of Directors.

Paul’s service over the years has been wide-ranging and invaluable to JDRF and the T1D community. He provided guidance in setting global strategy and performed groundbreaking work on the T1D Index. Launched in 2022, the T1D Index broadly measures how many people live with the condition, the healthy years of life it takes from people living with T1D, and what can be done to reduce its impact, in every country around the world. As a champion of this work, Paul has counseled staff, obtained political support, and ensured that JDRF drives success with measurable outcomes. He was also key to overseeing JDRF International’s response to COVID-19. Paul’s unending commitment to a shared mission has been of great benefit to JDRF and the T1D community.

Gerald Fishbone Award
The Gerald Fishbone Award recognizes an individual for exemplary, long-term volunteerism in support of JDRF mission priorities. JDRF is proud to recognize Margery Perry with the inaugural Gerald Fishbone Award for her longstanding volunteerism, as well as her service on the JDRF Research Committee.

Margery became involved with JDRF in 1988 as a member of the San Diego Board of Directors shortly after her daughter was diagnosed with T1D. Margery currently serves as the research pillar lead for the Global Mission Board, member of the Directors Emeritus and Impact and Advocacy Committee, and as an advisor to the Research Committee.

Over the years, Margery’s passion and dedication to advancing T1D research led her to play key roles within JDRF, including as both member and chair of the Lay Review Committee, member of the JDRF International Board of Directors, and in the critical position of chair of the Research Committee. As chair of the Research Committee, Margery further solidified JDRF’s groundbreaking research initiatives and provided a steady hand during a time when it was needed. She is an advocate for clinical trial education and early detection of T1D and is passionate about the progress being made in T1D prevention and cures research.

John Brady Award for Innovation
The John Brady Award for Innovation recognizes an outstanding JDRF volunteer who has exhibited leadership in driving innovation and pioneering projects or ideas with the potential to meaningfully impact the T1D community. JDRF is proud to honor Adam Singer’s highly impactful leadership and contributions over the past 45-plus years.

Adam was diagnosed with T1D in 1978 at the age of 18 and became involved with JDRF’s chapter in Philadelphia shortly thereafter. During his early years with JDRF, Adam founded the organization’s first international division of support groups in 30 cities and served as a member of JDRF’s International Board of Directors from 1982 to 1985 as the youngest member in JDRF history. He chaired JDRF’s Facilities Committee and a task force to get diabetes supplies to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. He is a long-time advocate and consistent leader, as well as a gala honoree and former board chair for the Mid Atlantic Chapter.

Markedly, one of Adam’s greatest contributions to JDRF’s mission is his founding of the JDRF Real Estate Games, a commercial real estate industry Olympics-style fundraising event. Since 1990, The Real Estate Games have raised more than $14 million for T1D research. This innovative event showcases Adam’s ability to cultivate relationships, connect people to JDRF’s mission, and drive fundraising. The Real Estate Games engage the commercial real estate communities in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York and have set an example of a wonderful industry partnership. The Washington D.C. event attracts more than 70 firms and 2,000 people. Adam is a dynamic volunteer partner who consistently puts the needs of JDRF and the T1D community first.

JDRF recognizes and appreciates all of the dedicated volunteers and supporters who commit their lives to the worldwide effort to end T1D.

About JDRF
JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally and globally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a global stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement, and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
T1D is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all. This leads to dependence on insulin therapy and the risk of short or long-term complications, which can include highs and lows in blood sugar; damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart; and even death if left untreated. Globally, it impacts nearly 9 million people. Many believe T1D is only diagnosed in childhood and adolescence, but diagnosis in adulthood is common and accounts for nearly 50% of all T1D diagnoses. The onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. There is currently no cure for T1D.



Casey Fielder