February 7, 2024

Annual award recognizes outstanding Breakthrough T1D volunteer leadership

Rock Hill, S.C. and New York, Feb. 6, 2024— JDRF, the leading global type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy organization, announces Jennie Costner as the recipient of the 2023 Huntsman Family Community Engagement Award in recognition of her noteworthy leadership as the national chair of the Grassroots Leadership Team and invaluable mentorship of advocacy team chairs.

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 Breakthrough T1D family and empowering individuals to make a difference in their own lives.

“We are thrilled to recognize Jennie for her significant contributions and years of dedicated service to Breakthrough T1D and the type 1 diabetes community,” said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., Breakthrough T1D CEO. “Advocacy is a critical part of achieving Breakthrough T1D’s mission, and Jennie’s volunteer leadership in this area has been exemplary. Her engagement and mentorship have inspired others to join in our efforts and had a positive impact across our organization and in the community. We thank Jennie for her unwavering commitment and celebrate her achievement.”

Jennie became involved with Breakthrough T1D 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 Breakthrough T1D’s Global Mission Board. She is actively involved in Breakthrough T1D’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 Breakthrough T1D 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 advanced Breakthrough T1D’s mission.

Breakthrough T1D recognizes and appreciates all the dedicated volunteers and supporters who commit their lives to the worldwide effort to end T1D. Volunteer Award recipients were recognized at the annual Breakthrough T1D One Conference in Houston, Texas.


About Breakthrough T1D

JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, Breakthrough T1D 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.