Letter from Leadership: Peter Cleary

Peter Cleary

As we head into the holiday season and toward a new year, we are especially thankful for our friends and supporters around the world. As the stories in this issue of Countdown show, the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community has much to celebrate at year’s end.

December also marks the halfway point of JDRF’s fiscal year. I am pleased to report that our U.S. revenue generation is up 6.5 percent from this time last year. This means that we are meeting our fundraising goals and maximizing the amount of money we direct toward T1D research. In fact, as one of our Highlights stories explains, Forbes magazine recently named JDRF one of five “All-Star” charities in fundraising efficiency.

Joining JDRF this past July was a homecoming for me. From 2003 to 2007, I was the national director of media relations for JDRF. I was familiar with T1D because a childhood friend of mine struggled with the disease and its complications as he grew older. And I was happy to become part of JDRF’s efforts to keep people healthier and safer while funding research toward a cure. In late 2007 I left JDRF to open the New York communications office of a private Swiss company working in global public health, with a specialty in preventing the transmission of disease in the developing world.

Now, in my new role as vice president of communications at JDRF, I am applying my knowledge of the organization with that global experience to reinforce JDRF’s leadership position in the world. True progress toward fulfilling JDRF’s mission requires a coordinated worldwide effort to identify the most promising research opportunities and to facilitate collaboration among the many organizations in the T1D research community. JDRF is the only global organization with a strategic plan to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until it is no longer a threat to anyone.

We have put the right team in place with top-tier researchers and professional staff. Among them are dedicated JDRF employees who know firsthand what living with T1D means, like JDRF National Director of Media Relations Bill Sorensen, whom you will hear from in this issue of Countdown. Bill reflects on living with T1D for 44 years and looks ahead to receiving his 50-Year Joslin Medal in 2018.

Until we can eliminate T1D entirely, we are committed to helping people better manage the daily burdens of the disease. To that end, we offer a Q&A with diabetes experts to address common questions that arise when someone receives a T1D diagnosis. We also have a feature article about DAFNE, a government-backed T1D education program in the United Kingdom that helps people improve their T1D management. Another story takes a lighthearted look at navigating the social and dietary predicaments that inevitably arise during holiday celebrations for people with T1D.

I hope you will enjoy these feature articles as well as the stories in our Highlights section. And, as always, we’ve included a Photo Gallery showcasing the variety of ways that our JDRF family raises awareness of T1D around the world.

Have a peaceful, happy, and healthy holiday season.

Peter Cleary
Vice President, Communications