1974 – 2024, 50 years of JDRF Canada Progress, Momentum, Breakthroughs

In 1974, four years after JDRF was founded in the United States, a group of parents determined to find a cure for their children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) came together and began JDRF Canada, launching the largest funder and advocate for T1D research in Canada.

Since its founding in Canada in 1974, JDRF Canada has been helping to lead the search for a cure for T1D.

In this era, T1D was commonly called “juvenile diabetes” because it was frequently diagnosed in; and strongly associated with, young children. Thus, the word ‘juvenile’ was in the name of the organization.

Since, we have and continue to evolve further to meet the needs of the entire T1D community, comprised of close to 300,000 Canadians, and including the more than 50% of people who are diagnosed as adults.

JDRF Canada President and CEO Jessica Diniz reflects on 50 years

JDRF’s vision is a world without type 1 diabetes, and we have made incredible progress toward achieving that goal.

JDRF has played a role in nearly every major T1D advance made in the last 50-plus years.

These transformational breakthroughs—including diagnostics, drugs and devices—are now helping people with T1D live longer, healthier lives, but we cannot wait another 50 years for cures.

Canada brought the world insulin. Canada discovered stem cells. Canada can accelerate cures for diabetes.

Momentum and progress are on our side, but accelerating a future without T1D will require significant and sustained funding to support continued research breakthroughs.


Watch a video showcasing 50 years of T1D research progress


Hear from the researcher who pioneered the first stem-cell based treatment for T1D, known as the Edmonton Protocol 

Living with T1D has changed dramatically in the five decades since JDRF Canada’s founding. Read stories from founding family members and others who have been living with T1D for over 50 years, as they share how managing the condition has changed, and the hope they have for the future and a world free from T1D once and for all.


Founding Family Members
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Darrin Davis Lorne Shiff Jimmy Garfinkle Myrna Weizner


Supporters living with T1D for 50+ years
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Jo-Anne Robertson


We need to build on Canada’s legacy of discovery from insulin to stem cell therapies, which can make T1D curable rather than a lifelong disease.

This is the final milestone anniversary we want to recognize as an organization. Our hope is that we won’t need another 50 years to know a world free from type 1 diabetes.

We need to accelerate the pace of research towards cures.
And for that, we need your help.