Why We Walk: The AppDynamics Journey to Breaking the Record for the JDRF One Walk, San Francisco

By Sonja Jacob, AppDynamics

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) impacts over a million children and adults in the United States alone. By 2050, that number is expected to climb to 5 million. T1D — which currently has no cure — requires multiple injections of insulin each day and close monitoring of glucose levels to avoid health complications. That’s why, for many individuals and families faced with managing the disease, hope for a cure looms large.

While there have been significant advances in research and our understanding of T1D, there’s still more work to be done. That’s why each year, JDRF partners with an organization that has the potential to raise broad awareness of T1D and the effects it has on communities across the country. This year, we’re proud to say that organization is AppDynamics (Cisco).

Joining the Fight Against T1D

“Type 1 diabetes is always there, in the back of your mind,” explains Steve Long, who has had T1D since the age of 7. He estimates that before getting a pump, he administered hundreds of thousands of insulin injections to stay healthy.

Today, Long, who is a senior leader at AppDynamics, a software company, is healthy — and hopeful for a cure. He’s also one of the many individuals in the AppDynamics community who has been impacted by T1D.

“It can be an incredibly complex disease to manage. I saw that first-hand growing up with a friend who had T1D,” states Dan Wright, the chief operating officer at AppDynamics.

That’s why Wright partnered with Elise Leung, general counsel, to bring the movement to AppDynamics with the help of Mara Martin, a long-time supporter of JDRF.

“So many people in the AppDynamics community have been touched by T1D, so when Mara approached us about getting involved with JDRF, we knew we could leverage the strength of our connections to make a difference.” – Elise Leung, General Counsel, AppDynamics

As the official corporate partner of JDRF this year, AppDynamics pledged to raise awareness of T1D by galvanizing support through fundraising for the JDRF One Walk, held each year.

“I saw first-hand the impact last year’s corporate chair, Salesforce, had on the T1D community, and I knew AppD had big shoes to fill. But I knew if we bring together key players, we could make a huge impact,” says Martin.

How AppDynamics Came Together for a Record-Breaking One Walk

“After the diagnosis, everything was about helping her to manage her type 1 diabetes,” says Steve Leibovitch, AppDynamics manager and father to Zemirah, who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 7.

Leibovitch says T1D surfaced when the family had just relocated from Ohio to New York for his new role at AppDynamics. At first, he says, the family didn’t know Zemirah was suffering symptoms of T1D. Soon after diagnosis, however, everything changed.

“Simple things like sleepovers and school trips became stressful,” explains Leibovitch, referring to the rigorous schedule of glucose testing and insulin dosing that people with T1D must endure. Eventually, though, managing T1D became a part of the family’s routine. Today, Zemirah is 13 years old and totally in control of monitoring and measuring her glucose, as well as administering her insulin dosage.

Although many individuals with T1D make managing it look easy, having the disease can be anything but predictable. That’s why there’s so much urgency around finding a cure. And that’s why AppDynamics got involved.

Every time I visit my doctor they give me hope that a cure is right around the corner. The research being done is promising. But still, it’s always ‘right around the corner’. That’s why anything I can do to push for a cure, I do,” explains Long who helped drive fundraising efforts at AppDynamics.

That sense of urgency was something AppDynamics drew on to galvanize support for JDRF, leveraging champions like Steve Long, Mara Martin, Steve Leibovitch, and the AppD Cares Team to hit a lofty goal of raising over $1 million for the cure.

“Getting involved with JDRF and the One Walk event was the AppDynamics way of tackling T1D head on. From the beginning, we didn’t want to just participate — we wanted to break records,” explains Leung.

And break records they did. Along with local companies, family teams, individuals – AppDynamics helped raise over $1M for T1D research.  

“We’re so incredibly thrilled that AppDynamics came together to contribute to raising a record-breaking $1,153,000 for JDRF in 2018, but even more excited that it will go such a long way towards finding a cure for T1D,” Wright said at the walk.