During this season of gratitude and hope, I look back to a year that generated immense change in all our lives. The one constant at JDRF is our mission and the generous donors and volunteers who continue to support our work to improve lives today and tomorrow by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications.
This commitment to mission is especially poignant in JDRF’s 50th year. The Power of Us in the Kansas and Missouri Chapter was demonstrated over and over this year. In the spring, both the St. Louis and Kansas City galas pivoted to virtual events to continue momentum to mission. The Dream Gala in Kansas City was the 25th Annual event and, through volunteer leadership, secured over 25 gifts of $25,000 or more.
This summer JDRF held the first ever national virtual gathering, The Power of Us, celebrating the stories of all those living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). In addition, the first national and virtual Type One Nation Summit was held to provide educational programs to our community. The recorded sessions from this event are still available through the end of 2020.
As an organization, we transitioned the Ride to Cure program to a virtual event kicking off our integrated system to track the number of miles cyclists rode this summer and held virtual celebrations the first weekend of October. In the Kansas and Missouri Chapter, we had new riders join our chapter ride team and made the most of a challenging season.
The summer also provided a new structure in JDRF to deliver on mission in the most efficient way. The Greater Missouri and Southern Illinois Chapter and the Kansas City Chapter merged to form the Kansas and Missouri Chapter with staff currently located in Kansas City and St. Louis. JDRF is committed to continuing the strong volunteer leadership that drives our mission forward. Local volunteer leadership and boards continue to be a primary focus.
The JDRF One Walk program aligned across the country to a November 1 celebration for walk teams. We set not only a fundraising goal, but also a miles walked goal. We again integrated fitness tracking into this program. This virtual event kicked-off the JDRF One World in Roblox and National Diabetes Awareness Month. Our walk teams that engaged in fundraising had incredible success in telling their story that inspired others to support JDRF’s mission. It is exciting to see JDRF join the gaming world and explore new ways to engage the T1D community.
As we wrap up the year, JDRF is introducing the One Society as a national donor recognition opportunity.
I’m so grateful for all of the volunteers and donors who have stayed committed to our mission as we adjusted to the realities of living through a pandemic. I’m thankful that we have the technology available to meet virtually and that so many of you choose to engage with us in these new formats.
Thank you again for being part of JDRF and continuing to drive our mission forward. Together, we will create a world without T1D.
Executive Director, Kansas & Missouri Chapter