On average, it takes a person 2,000 steps to walk one mile. A classic JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes travels a little more than three miles. Now here’s math we love: with 900,000 participants in last year’s JDRF Walk program, our walkers took nearly six million steps toward helping JDRF fund research to cure, better treat, and prevent type 1 diabetes (T1D).
From our earliest days, Walks were essential to JDRF’s ability to raise money for T1D research and fundamental to developing our grassroots strength. Wherever a new Walk was planned, a JDRF chapter usually formed to support it. One by one, Walks and chapters sprang up around the United States. In 1992, the Walks were unified into a national program to assist walkers, volunteers, and staff. The goal was to help them share information and spread awareness of the need for T1D research funding to the largest audience possible.
Our Walks were a “wow”! In the 1990s, Chicago was the first chapter to bring in more than $1 million through multiple Walk locations. In 1997, the New York City Chapter attained the $1 million mark for a single Walk. To date, the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes has raised more than $1 billion for T1D research. And we reached this historic milestone through the thousands of donations, both large and small, gathered by individual walkers.
Many of our most passionate volunteers and supporters first come to JDRF through participation in a Walk and remain involved with us when they learn how their efforts contribute to real progress in T1D research. The money raised by the early Walks helped researchers to understand the basic science of T1D. Over the years, we have progressed to fund more clinical trials to support translational research—studies that transform research results into drug and device therapies for clinical use by patients. This scientific research is more complicated and more expensive. As T1D research advances, JDRF must greatly increase our funding to continue working in this costly area and improving the lives of people with T1D.
Join us—take this next step with JDRF! This fall season, 150 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes events will be held throughout the United States. Any walker will tell you that the Walks are fun, social, and inspiring. The challenge comes with raising money before a Walk. JDRF will help you set a fundraising goal and connect with friends and family to make a meaningful contribution to the funding of T1D research. As the Walk has grown and evolved, so too has the fundraising support JDRF offers to our walkers. As a walker, you have access to a personal Participant Center, through which you can send emails and record your fundraising progress, as well as a Fundraise with Facebook application that broadens your donor base. When you use these tools, you may be surprised to find that many people you know have connections to T1D. So let social media make it easier to ask, and multiply your donations! You will travel the same course on the Walk, but your participation will really go the distance if you use these online tools.
There are no small steps in this journey. Every step, every walker, and every dollar raised brings JDRF closer to our goals of curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. Thank you for walking with JDRF!