Jerry the Bear: Reinventing Diabetes Education

Kids can feed Jerry foods, check blood sugar level, and give insulin.
Aaron Horowitz
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Email Verified
Providence, Rhode Island
United States
5 Team Members

Hear from our families

Meet Jerry

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! 

We Need Your Help

Our mission is to get Jerry into the hands of every child newly diagnosed and we won’t stop until we do! We’ve been super busy to make it happen and already have:

  • Created more than 29 iterations of the prototype and tested with over 350 families
  • Set up a scalable supply chain
  • Shipped our first production run reaching 2% of children newly diagnosed

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork to make our mission possible, we’re asking for $20,000 to cover the minimum order quantity for our next production run, bringing us one step closer to this goal.

Not your typical campaign 

You can make a tax deductible contribution to get Jerry directly into the hands of all children diagnosed in the coming year. 

Check out our perks!

A brief history

For the past 4.5 years we’ve devoted our hearts and souls to improving the lives of children with T1D. Everyone on our team has a personal connection to T1D, which fuels the passion we have for our work.

After shipping our first production run we were ecstatic to learn that 5 months later, kids are still playing with Jerry for over 1 hour per week! Stories are pouring in from parents, reporting that their children have started to check their own glucose levels and are even learning math skills by counting their own carbs.

This makes us ask the questions, what if we can get Jerry into the hands of 100% of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Can we make a profound difference in the life of every child diagnosed?

How Does Jerry work?

Jerry is a hands-on learning environment, enabling 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 best part is that kids love it!

Children help Jerry train for the All Star Games through a sequence of 21 animated storybooks that play on his touchscreen. After each storybook, new tasks get assigned that must be completed to unlock more content. 

These storybooks and tasks form a curriculum that we’ve developed while working hand in hand with doctors, educators, and parents. 

Jerry comes with 10 food cards and an insulin pen. Children can feed Jerry by swiping foods over his mouth, check his blood sugar level by squeezing his fingers, and give him insulin using either the included insulin pen or the pump on his screen.


After reaching over 2% of children newly diagnosed last year, here’s what parents are saying:


We’ve teamed up with a network of non-profit organizations to help get Jerry directly into the hands of kids. Below is a short list that will continue to grow over the coming weeks:

The first bears distributed from our campaign will fulfill a queue of families that have already submitted hardship applications to the Type 1 Diabetes Network. These families qualify to receive a bear based on yearly income. Once this queue is fulfilled, bears will be distributed to families on a first come first served basis through our network of affiliate non-profits. To sign up to receive a bear, please follow the link here!

All contributions from the campaign will be put toward purchasing bears for kids in need!

Where it all began

Long long ago, in a land far far away, Jerry was born as a sketch on a post-it note. 

In 2009, we embarked on a journey to answer a question that hit close to home for us: “How can we improve the lives of kids diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.” Through Design for America at Northwestern University in Chicago, we set out to apply the human centered design process to solve this problem. While interviewing families, we observed something remarkable. Children with T1D were pretending to inject their stuffed animals with insulin, pricked their fingers to check their blood sugar, and even stapled hand-drawn insulin pumps to their fur. Children were projecting their emotions onto their teddies, and using them to cope with the range of lifestyle changes they were faced with.

So we asked ourselves, what if we could really bring this behavior to life? And what if we could make it educational?

Since then, it’s been a whirlwind. They say if you jump headfirst into doing something you love, the ground will form beneath you. And for us, it certainly has.


We’ve already shipped out our first production run of bears and have built an incredible network of local and overseas manufacturers to help us scale our production.

By supporting us you are not only helping to deliver happiness to children with type 1 diabetes, but you are also bringing business and jobs to American manufacturing.

What your contribution means to us

Our vision at Sproutel is to create similar technologies for all children diagnosed with a chronic illness. Your contribution will give us the ability to reach scale in diabetes and fuel our work towards these other products.

Help us build a business where happiness is directly linked to bottom line profits!

Our Team 

Aaron Horowitz, Co-founder and CEO: Builder and all-around maker of mechanical and electrical systems, with a passion for user interaction. Wire-framer of ideas, and framer of ideas out of sculpture wire.

Hannah Chung, Co-founder and CCO: Engineer turned animator and digital storyteller. Content and marketing strategist, and named one of Inc. Magazine’s “15 Women to Watch in Tech” in 2012. Recovering panda cam addict.

Joel Schwartz, Hardware Engineer: Previously building rehabilitative toys for kids with cerebral palsy. Happiest in a machine shop, with a well-made spreadsheet, or fly fishing.

Brian Oley, Software Engineer: An acrobatic unicycling photographer, and developer of mobile games and medical software. A well balanced member of the team.


When will I receive documentation for my deduction?

After the funding period (60 days) one of our non-profit distribution partners will credit your contribution and send you the necessary documentation. 

Is Jerry the Bear available internationally?

Jerry is currently only available in the US, though our T-shirt and Cuddle Buddy perks are available internationally. 

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