JDRF Congress

Local Teens Chosen to Represent Nevada in Washington, D.C. this July During JDRF’s Children’s Congress
Posted on 06/12/2023
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Two local teens, Leah Card (15, Carson City) and Joy Hodson (15, Las Vegas), were selected from nearly 800 total applicants, ages four to 17, to attend Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) 2023 Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C., July 9-11, 2023, representing Nevada.

The two teens, who were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at nine years old and 14 years old respectively, will represent our state at the biannual event. The goal of Children’s Congress is to raise awareness about T1D and to let Congress and other Federal decision makers know how essential they are in advancing research, ensuring access to affordable insulin and helping JDRF achieve its vision of a world without T1D.

More about our amazing delegates:
Card was diagnosed with T1D in April of 2022, which she describes as the biggest challenge of her life. Leah hit the ground running after her diagnosis and is committed to using her voice to advocate for the T1D community. Leah is a JDRF Youth Advocacy Leader, and recently started a club for people living with T1D at school. She says that she wants the other students living with T1D to know they are not alone and that they have a support system.

Card has been a competitive mountain biker since 2019 and has traveled all over the western United States to compete. One of the first people she shared her T1D diagnosis with was her mountain biking coach, who also lives with the disease. Leah’s coach told her that T1D would become her superpower, which Leah had trouble understanding at first.

“I’ve reflected on his words a lot, and I’ve realized that T1D will make me stronger both physically and emotionally, and that if I can conquer diabetes, I can conquer anything else that comes my way,” Card said.

Hodson describes herself as “a very busy person” and she definitely is. She participates in piano club, winter color guard, Girl Scouts, student council, Model UN, choir, and more. With her love for math and science, she hopes to work in the engineering field as an adult.

Despite her busy schedule, Hodson always finds time to educate people about living with T1D, including serving as a JDRF Youth Ambassador and on her local One Walk Committee. She is excited to head to DC and use her powerful voice to continue to spread awareness about T1D in a meaningful way.

More about Type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle and there is nothing one can do to prevent it, and at present – no cure.

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.