ESPN's Adam Schefter joins push for diabetes research

ESPN's Adam Schefter joins push for diabetes research
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Celebrities dealing with Type 1 diabetes joined a town hall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to meet and inspire children who have the same condition.

The event was organized by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a group dedicated to providing support for those who have Type 1 diabetes as well as raising money and awareness. It featured athletes, actors and artists who spoke about their personal experiences with the disease and the obstacles they overcame.

Sports writer and ESPN analyst Adam Schefter moderated the town hall, which also included children with Type 1 diabetes. Schefter told the young people at the event that it was possible to be successful and manage their diabetes.

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"You can still achieve your dreams," he said.

Ryan Reed, a NASCAR driver, spoke about the challenges his intense work presented. Reed said he sometimes needs to take breaks from practice to maintain his glucose level.

“It’s not something we can’t deal with and overcome to keep doing what we love,” he said.

Baylor women's basketball star Lauren Cox, an NCAA champion, said she waves to her trainer if she feels like she's having a blood sugar issue while on the court.

“Everyone’s always so supportive,” said Cox.

The struggles of living with Type 1 diabetes extend to the arts as well.

Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Victor Garber told a story about how his glucose monitor started beeping in the middle of shooting a scene.

“So that was a problem, but everyone was very sympathetic,” he said as the crowd laughed. “That’s really important for everybody to trust that you can tell whoever you’re working with or you’re playing with that this is what I have and there’s no shame.”

Also at the event were Christina Martin, a professional dancer and "American Ninja Warrior" participant, and actors Jennifer Stone and Derek Theler.

The town hall is a part of the JDRF Children’s Congress, a weeklong event that brings more than 160 children from across the country with Type 1 diabetes to Washington every two years to meet with role models and push lawmakers to fund research.

The events will culminate with a hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

A nonprofit that funds Type 1 diabetes research, JDRF is pushing lawmakers to extend funding for the Special Diabetes Program, which provides $150 million annually to the National Institutes of Health for Type 1 diabetes research and expires this September.    

Garber, JDRF CEO Aaron Kowalski and two children from the Children’s Congress will speak to senators at the hearing Wednesday.