JDRF Presents Inaugural Mary Tyler Moore Awards to Members of Congress Leading the Fight Against Type 1 Diabetes

Chelsea-Lyn Rudder

The awards were presented to Senator Susan Collins, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Diana DeGette during JDRF’s annual Government Day on Capitol Hill

The event honored the legacy of Mary Tyler Moore.
The television pioneer was a global advocate for diabetes research and served as
JDRF’s international chairman.

WASHINGTON D.C., March 22, 2023 – Today, JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, presented the inaugural Mary Tyler Moore Awards to three women leaders in Congress who have been instrumental in the fight against T1D. U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, were honored alongside Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chair of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, for their longstanding support of the T1D community. The ceremony, held during JDRF’s annual Government Day, honored the legacy of screen icon Mary Tyler Moore, who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 33. As international chairman of JDRF from 1984 to 2017, Moore used her influence to bring government, scientists and people living with diabetes together to further T1D advocacy and innovation.

One of Moore’s most significant achievements as JDRF international chairman was increased Congressional funding for the Special Diabetes Program at the National Institutes of Health that has accelerated the pace of type 1 diabetes research. This long-term investment in diabetes research has led to significant scientific breakthroughs including Tzield, the first disease modifying treatment for T1D which can delay the onset of the disease by over two years. JDRF Government Day volunteers, more than 175 T1D advocates from across the country, will encourage members of Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program when they visit lawmakers later today on Capitol Hill.

“Thanks to the enduring efforts of Mary Tyler Moore, we are moving closer every day to new treatments and cures for type 1 diabetes and its complications,” said Cynthia Rice, JDRF’s chief mission strategy officer. “Senators Shaheen and Collins and Rep. DeGette have been steadfast allies in Congress to the type 1 diabetes community. JDRF is proud to recognize their work as they carry Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy forward.”

Since Mary Tyler Moore’s passing in 2017, Dr. S. Robert Levine, M.D, her husband of over 30 years, has continued Moore’s legacy of leadership. Dr. Levine has served as chair of JDRF’s Government Relations Committee and was a long serving member of the organization’s International Board of Directors. He was on hand for the presentation of the Mary Tyler Moore Awards.

“When most of the world thinks of Mary Tyler Moore, they immediately picture Mary from the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’. But her biggest role was her leadership and commitment to the type 1 diabetes community,” said Dr. S. Robert Levine. “Mary was a force of nature. She raised billions of dollars to fund research to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes and tirelessly advocated Congress. I am truly touched that this award is named in Mary’s memory and that its three inaugural recipients are such outstanding leaders.”

Senators Collins and Shaheen shared remarks with the audience after accepting the Mary Tyler Moore Awards.

“Mary Tyler Moore was a pioneer in the entertainment industry and an inspiration to millions of women and girls. I was so fortunate to come to know Mary as a friend, and as someone who dedicated her life to helping others. As international chairman of JDRF, she worked to raise awareness and improve the lives of so many living with Type 1 diabetes,” said Senator Collins. “I am grateful to receive this recognition that honors Mary’s legacy, and I will continue to build on the progress we have made to better treat, prevent, and ultimately cure this disease.”

“I’m honored to receive this award from JDRF and sincerely thank them for this recognition on an issue that is so personal to me. My granddaughter has type 1 diabetes, so my family is acutely aware of how that impacts not only those we love, but the entire family unit. I hear often from constituents who face the same challenges, which is what drives me each and every day to work on policies to cut the cost of insulin, address other barriers to necessary care, and ultimately, to invest in research so we can finally find a cure. More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes and millions more are at risk for developing it. I’ll always advocate for those affected by diabetes and want to thank the countless individuals who’ve marched beside me in this fight, including my Senate Diabetes co-chair and fellow honoree, Senator Susan Collins, JDRF and the many other important organizations on the frontlines. We’ve seen encouraging progress to lower insulin costs over the last few months – and especially the last few weeks – but that is only the start to addressing the full scope of the financial burden impacting our families.”

Representative DeGette was unable to attend the ceremony but is expected to accept the award at her Capitol Hill office later in the day.



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.