The name Jambo might not be familiar to you, but to more than 22,000 Twitch users and 38,000 Twitter followers, she’s a gaming influencer.
Streaming started as a hobby for Jambo back in 2017, but it quickly developed into a full-fledged career. She’s fueled by two things: “Pizza and a desire to help leave the world a better place.”
Jambo was aware of JDRF after her type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis in her early 20s, but it wasn’t until learning about the JDRF Game2Give initiative that she became directly involved with the organization. “It’s an absolute honor to work directly alongside so many incredible folks who want to help make the world a bit easier for those who deal with T1D,” she said.
JDRF Game2Give was founded in 2019 by T1D parents in the games industry. It brings together video game players, streamers, and developers to foster community, fundraise, and build awareness for T1D.
T1D dad and former game industry executive Josh Larson joined in 2020 as a volunteer, and later that year he became director of the program.
“I love the parallel between JDRF’s founding by T1D parents over 50 years ago, and JDRF Game2Give’s inception by T1D parents in 2019,” Josh said. “It’s exciting to reflect on what we’ve built in a short time and where it will lead.”
There are more than 3 billion gamers worldwide, giving JDRF Game2Give the opportunity to reach and educate new audiences. The program has raised almost $2.5 million to date, and that number is growing rapidly thanks to influencers like Jambo.
A Cyber Celebration
Jambo celebrated her 30th birthday in July and had been considering a charity stream fundraiser for JDRF for a while. “I felt selfish about the idea of doing a charity campaign for something I, myself, struggle with,” she said. But with encouragement from her friends, family, and therapist, she decided to go for it.
She ended up raising nearly $6,000 for JDRF during a two-week streaming event on her Twitch channel. Does she consider it a success? Absolutely.
“To be honest, every single charity fundraiser is a success,” she said. “If, at the bare minimum, you have raised awareness for something, or helped another community member feel seen or supported, or less alone, you’ve done so much. It isn’t about the individual campaign, it’s about what every single person coming together for that cause is able to do hand in hand with one another.”
Jambo’s birthday fundraiser kicked off JDRF’s annual Game Over, T1D! campaign, which brings together live stream content creators and T1D community members from around the world to host charity streams. This year’s Game Over, T1D! culminates with a 10-day livestream event from August 19–28.
What is charity streaming?
Think of charity livestreams as the TV telethon of the 21st century. Charity livestreams are fundraising broadcasts on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Streamed activities can include video games, live music, fitness, tabletop games, cooking, hobbies, or “just chatting.” Viewers make donations and, like in a telethon, their name and donation amount appear on-screen in real time.
“Gamers are very philanthropic,” said Monique Hughes, JDRF Game2Give National Manager. “Charity streams are a way to celebrate and support your community.”
Jambo admits to putting a lot of energy into her charity streams. “I work with companies for incentives or donation matches and talk with my moderator team to brainstorm ideas and plan content,” she said. “It can be overwhelming at times, but it is always worth it!”
Beyond the Stream
But JDRF Game2Give is more than just livestreams. A lot more.
“In just the past several months, we helped design and launch T1D content in Animal Crossing™: New Horizons with Insulet, raised over $250K with a Humble Bundle themed around T1D, and organized an esports Madden 22 tournament with the Delta Tau Delta fraternity,” Josh said. “We’re even more excited about the future as JDRF Game2Give integrates more deeply with JDRF.”
This creativity is placing JDRF at the forefront of innovation in fundraising and securing its place in the new digital age.
Using the Force for Good
Jambo envisions a future with her partner and their two “incredible” dogs, Beesly and Bear…but without T1D.
“My hope is that by continuing to help support causes like JDRF, one day in my lifetime I’ll be diabetes-free,” she said. An even bigger hope is that a cure will be found in her dad’s lifetime—he has lived with T1D since the age of 17.
And she believes gamers have the power to make it happen.
“The gaming community has already been such a force of good when it comes to giving back, and I think these are just the first steps toward an even bigger impact,” she said. “I’m so proud to be able to use the platform we’ve built for such powerful, compassionate causes.”
Game Over, T1D!
JDRF Game2Give’s annual Game Over, T1D! campaign brings together livestream content creators and T1D community members to fundraise together during a 10-day period in August. This year’s fundraiser is August 19–28, with a $50,000 goal. View the event schedule here.