Seeing a child in pain is one of the most gut wrenching feelings for me, especially when it involves medical issues. It's hard for
me to wrap my head around the concept why such innocence
is dealt an unfavorable hand. For that reason, today's segment means a lot to me.
For three summers, while attending college, I spent my time serving as a counselor at a YMCA camp. The last session of
each summer was always an interesting one for me. Why?
Well, because the session was a bit different from the rest of
the sessions. It involved kids that had Diabetes Type 1 (DT1).
They even had their own camp name, Camp Sugar Falls (how sweet is that? yes pun intended). The kids were monitored by two doctors, along with other fellow associates. Aside from the regular activities we had the kids participate in, they also had the opportunity to learn about DT1 and were educated on how to better understand its nature. I remember vividly on one afternoon, when one of the campers received a loud camp style cheer from her peers and counselors, as she made an injection by herself, for the very first time.
Turning an unfortunate experience into a positive one can be challenging. However, when passion is fueling the fire, the outcome will be incredibly significant. This holds true for Aaron Horowitz and his Sproutel team members, as they look to help children with DT1 better understand its implications. Back in 2009, Aaron, along with Hannah Chung, Joel Schwartz, and Brian Oley, set out to accomplish a vision, “How can we improve the lives of kids diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.” Through playfulness and educational features, their product is going to make a big difference for a lot of kids with DT1.
After 29 iterations of the prototype, while testing the product with over 350 families, Aaron and the crew are ready to introduce Jerry the Bear. As explained on the campaign page, "Jerry the Bear is a best friend for children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). He helps kids master their medical procedures, from counting carbs to monitoring their blood sugar levels - all through play!"
Knowing that having a hands-on experience leads to better understanding of the diagnosis, Jerry the Bear enables "children to practice dealing with responses to real world scenarios. Through play with Jerry, children develop a sense of empathy and understanding, ultimately empowering them to take an active role in their diabetes care."
The kids will be able to feed Jerry, check his blood sugar, and inject insulin all through interactions with the bear. Sproutel's product has been well received within the testing community, especially with parents. Last year, Jerry the Bear was experienced by 2% of children newly diagnosed with DT1. After successfully reaching their goal of $20,000, Sproutel is aiming for a stretch goal of $179K, which will allow it to provide Jerry the Bear to 5% of children that are newly diagnosed next year.
Even though I have friends with DT1, have counseled kids that have been diagnosed at a young age, and have an understanding of the biological aspects of DT1, I'm not able to connect on a personal level. However, I have seen its impact and know that it creates a different lifestyle for children, which is why I truly believe Jerry the Bear has the potential of reaching and affecting the lives of many, for the better.
By educating kids, through interactive play and educational processes, Jerry the Bear will ignite more ideas and ambitions within the medical world. And as it can be seen, Jerry is the first step for Sproutel, as they'll be working on newer projects and developing similar products in the future.
Overall, educating children with DT1, through a fantastic toy, POPs.
Jerry the Bear Campaign Page