Junior Diabetes

I was waiting for the question.  The sneakers were up behind the counter. The cashier at Marshalls rang up my purchases. Then he looked up.  "Would you like to donate to the Junior Diabetes Foundation?" 

As you may be aware, there's an ongoing discussion in the diabetes community about the name for the autoimmune form of diabetes.  Juvenile Diabetes was the original.  Type 1 is the current.  Some think the third time will be a charm.

Despite the push to use 'type 1,' or an even newer moniker, 'juvenile' lingers. One reason is that it's featured in the original name of the disease's primary foundation.  JDRF began as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  According to the people running our local walk kick-off event this summer, JDRF has chosen to shorten its official name to the acronym, but not to change it completely.  The concern is that brand recognition is imperative for their fundraising efforts. An explanation of their re-branding can be found on the JDRF website.

Their decision is understandable in some ways, but problematic in others.  When people see an acronym, they assume it stands for the organization's name.  JDRF has redrawn their logo to make the J and D resemble T1D.  Next to their logo are the words, 'Improving lives. Curing Type 1 Diabetes.'  Yet verbally, that doesn't come across.  Selling sneakers at the check-out is very much a verbal transaction. The cashier was stuck with an acronym: JDRF.  I imagine a training packet comes with the sneakers, with sales pitches to use.  I also imagine that if staff are actually trained, not much of it sticks.

So I was asked to donate to the Junior Diabetes Foundation.  It could have been worse.  Diabetes made it in there, which defined the essential purpose of the fundraising.  Anyone with a connection to the disease would probably have accurately translated the question.

I suppose I could have said something like, "It's actually Type 1 Diabetes.  The J used to stand for Juvenile, and the organization used to be called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation but they changed their name to just an acronym because the disease was renamed and because people of all ages live with it."  I'm guessing his eyes would have glazed over pretty quickly.

So I simply donated and said,  "Absolutely.  And thank you for asking.  My daughter has diabetes and JDRF's research means a lot to us."

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