Diabetes Forecast

Volunteers Design Their Own Diabetes Fundraisers

By Gina Corry , ,

Robert Fidel's marathon fundraiser raised money for the American Diabetes Association.
Courtesy of Robert Fidel

From the moment Andrew Hair was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008, he became interested in raising money to find a cure. The question was: How? When a friend later introduced him to a do-it-yourself fundraising platform from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) called Team Diabetes, Hair had his answer.

For the past five years, he has combined his know-how as a computer programmer with his love of video games to host fundraisers through Twitch, a service that streams live videos, particularly of users playing competitive video games. “For 24 hours over the course of the weekend, I’ll stream various games, and people can watch me play,” says Hair, 34. “I use the tools that the DIY platform provides and link that up with Twitch, so people can donate directly through the [ADA] website.”

By displaying donation links on his Twitch page, promoting his fundraiser through social media, and reaching out to fellow game developers to help spread the word to their players, Hair’s DIY streaming events have raised a total of $20,000 for the ADA.

Since 2014, families, individuals, companies, and organizations have hosted more than 800 DIY fundraising events through Team Diabetes, including walks, golf and tennis tournaments, and even Halloween parties. While the ADA offers suggestions for out-of-the-box event ideas—a game night, yard sale, or diabetes anniversary, for instance—creativity is encouraged. “Our goal is to provide a fundraising presence for any type of event you want to do,” says Lynda Jimenez, the ADA’s associate director for do-it-yourself campaign development. “Regardless of how you participate, we are all on one team in the fight against diabetes.”

Between 2015 and  2019, Team Diabetes fundraisers brought in more than $14 million for the ADA—funds that support diabetes camps, research, education, and advocacy. The difference between these events and others hosted by the ADA? Organizers have control over their events.

Robert Fidel, a 53-year-old paralegal in San Diego, saw fundraising with Team Diabetes as his chance to raise money for diabetes while checking an item off his bucket list: running the annual Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. “When I went to the ADA’s website and saw the DIY fundraiser, I thought that this would work out perfectly,” says Fidel, who has type 2 diabetes.

Using the DIY platform, he was able to share his fundraiser on social media to help spread the word among friends, family, and coworkers who then donated through the ADA website. In the end, he raised around $2,500. But the ADA wasn’t the only beneficiary. “The running, training, and exercise helps me manage my diabetes,” says Fidel, who plans to do another Team Diabetes fundraiser this year when he and his brother run the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in May.

Learn More

To learn more or to create a fundraiser, visit diabetes.org/teamdiabetes.



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