Usher advocates for diabetes awareness at Capitol Hill


(WASHINGTON) — Eight-time Grammy award winner Usher Raymond made a surprise appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday, urging lawmakers to make Medicare’s Diabetes Prevention Program more accessible to Americans.

“Today, just talking about type 1 diabetes and early screening for type 1 diabetes,” Usher, the Super Bowl LVIII performer, told ABC News after his meetings.

Usher’s son, Cinco, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2014. Before leaving, Usher acknowledged the issue was personal to him.

“Yeah, I’ve been able to share my story today. Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to hear more about it,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Type 1 diabetes was once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, and it often develops in children, teens, and young adults, but it can happen at any age.

The CDC said the disease is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. 

“This reaction destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells,” the agency wrote on its website. “This process can go on for months or years before any symptoms appear.”

Usher was first spotted riding the Senate Subway with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock — then the Capitol press corps went on the hunt for the pop icon.

He made his way over to the House side, meeting with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other lawmakers as a mix of reporters and staffers congregated outside of the meeting. They patiently waited for a selfie as minutes turned to hours.

At one point, emerging from the meeting in his tan suit, undershirt, and signature shades, Usher said, “I had a great time here in D.C.,” when asked about his conversations with lawmakers.

Throughout the day, the music superstar met with lawmakers in both chambers about the SCREEN for Type 1 Diabetes Act — introduced on Tuesday and led by Reps. Kim Schrier, Diana DeGette, John Joyce, and Gus Bilirakis in the House and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins in the Senate. The act aims to increase public awareness of the disease, including early detection of type 1 Diabetes.

“He has a family relationship with the issue and he’s decided to speak out to raise awareness and I’m very, very grateful to him for doing that,” Rep. DeGette said after the meeting broke.

Her legislation is supported by the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and the American Medical Association, according to a release from DeGette.

Prior to leaving the Capitol, Usher shared his plan to continue fighting for the cause in the future.

“It was my first time [up here] but it won’t be my last,” he said.

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