Two JDRF Social Media Programs Reach Member Milestones

Two JDRF Social Media Programs Reach Member Milestones

Media Contact:
Jillian Lubarsky, JDRF Media Relations
(212) 479-7626, jlubarsky@jdrf.org

Joana Casas, JDRF Media Relations
(212) 479-7560, mcasas@jdrf.org

NEW YORK, April 29, 2010 – Today the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced that it reached two online milestones: Online Diabetes Support Team (ODST) handled its 20,000th requests and its social networking site, Juvenation, registered its 10,000th member.  Both programs are designed to help support people who have type 1 diabetes themselves or who care for a loved one with the disease.

JDRF’s Online Diabetes Support Team began handling inquiries on Christmas Eve, 2002. Juvenation was launched on World Diabetes Day, November 14, 2008.  JDRF’s Online Diabetes Support Team started as a grassroots initiative in which people with type 1 diabetes could find support and assistance through e-mail exchanges.  Today the Online Diabetes Support Team is one of JDRF’s most effective outreach programs and operates on a national level.

JDRF’s Online Diabetes Support Team enables anyone over the age of 13 to submit questions, share thoughts, and seek expert advice about type 1 diabetes through a brief online form on JDRF’s Web site.  Requests are answered within 48 hours by JDRF volunteers who understand the emotions, challenges and issues that often follow in the time immediately following a diagnosis and throughout the life of someone with type 1 diabetes.

More than 100 volunteers are trained to respond to questions submitted to JDRF’s Online Diabetes Support Team. Volunteers are assigned specific time-slots to respond to questions, ensuring that all e-mails are answered as soon as possible. Common topics and questions received by the Online Diabetes Support Team range from how to tell family members and friends that you, or someone close to you, have been diagnosed with diabetes to where to ‘wear’ an insulin pump or how to join a local support group.

The initial effort to begin the Online Diabetes Support Team was led by two JDRF volunteers, Ardy Johnson and Steve Winer, who met by chance in an online chat room designed for parents of newly diagnosed children with type 1 diabetes.  Together, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Winer worked with JDRF to expand the organization’s outreach efforts, ultimately leading to the creation of ODST.  Johnson and Winer continue to support JDRF as moderators of ODST.

“ODST restores normalcy, hope, and confidence to families and individuals coping with a recent diagnosis or facing a new challenge in life,” said Andrea Hulke, Director of Outreach at JDRF. “Ardy Johnson and Steve Winer have done an incredible job building ODST into a national Outreach program that has helped thousands of people and changed the way JDRF interacts and communicates with those in need of support.”

To compliment and build on the success of JDRF’s online presence and outreach, the social networking site Juvenation was created to establish a platform and resource for the type 1 diabetes community at large.  Members of Juvenation can create a profile, join discussion groups, create and comment on blogs, upload videos, and find people with similar interests ranging from sports to philosophy to travel.

Besides its 10,000 members, Juvenation is viewed by thousands of visitors every day and has received several awards from the Web Marketing Association.  Last year, Medical Marketing & Media’s magazine, MM&M devoted ran a cover story to the rapid success of Juvenation and its ability to use social media as a resource for those touched by type 1.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.