Diabetes’ Biggest Little Heroes

Meet the 2011 Children's Congress delegates from Pennsylvania

Both my older sister and younger brother have type 1 diabetes, so finding a cure for the disease is a cause near and dear to my heart. Every two years, JDRF Chairman Mary Tyler Moore, a type 1 diabetic herself, and more than 100 hundred children with type 1 diabetes gather in D.C. for the Children’s Congress, where they meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government in the hopes of securing the funds needed to find a cure. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. I’ve posted videos of the four adorable girls that will be representing Pennsylvania this year, June 20-22, below. Their stories and dreams for a cure are incredibly familiar. I hope they inspire you to, at the very least, say “yes” the next time the person ringing up your groceries asks if you’ll donate a dollar to finding a cure.


Though Ashley was only five years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she already knew what it was. Her younger sister, Samantha, had been diagnosed about a year earlier, at 11 months old. Ashley would like to be a teacher one day. She plays soccer, does gymnastics, and enjoys drawing. Her birthday wish is for a cure for type 1. Ashley and her family are working hard to raise awareness and encourage Congressional support of research, to help us one day make her wish come true.


Hannah is inspired by people who do not let obstacles like diabetes stop them from living a full life. Diagnosed at age three, she has her eyes set on the fashion and entertainment industries. She loves to sing, dance, and play piano. Read full profile.


Noel loves to bake and decorate cakes, and one day would like to become a pastry chef. Just like creating a delicious dessert, spreading awareness of type 1 and raising money for research take the right ingredients, including patience, passion, and hard work. Read her full profile.


Samantha spent her first birthday in the hospital, after being diagnosed at 11 months old. Still, says her mother, Samantha is “very good natured and loves to giggle and is lighthearted, even though we always seem to be approaching her with a needle!” Samantha now wears a pump, but her diabetes management can be tricky due to her young age: She can’t always communicate when her blood sugars are low, and like other four-year-olds, she doesn’t always finish her food. Samantha’s older sister, Ashley, was also diagnosed, about a year after Samantha. Read her full profile.