Since 2011, Carb DM has been creating a supportive diabetes community in the Bay Area. It’s a community like no other, and to keep it going, we need your help. Carb DM runs on a shoestring budget, so your contribution of any amount makes a big impact.
To see the impact we’re making, look no further than the people who make up our community: the people with type 1 diabetes and the people who love them. These are the people whose stories we’re telling. These are the people we’re celebrating.
This month, our featured community member is Carb DM board member Jeff Chang. Jeff has been living with T1D for over 20 years. Jeff currently works as a product manager at Glooko, a mobile and web-based platform for diabetes management. At Glooko, he is able to combine his interests of healthcare and technology to help others ease the burden of living with diabetes.
Jeff was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 7, and growing up with it was an isolating experience. Friends, family members, and acquaintances didn’t know much about type 1 diabetes. Other children would make fun of Jeff, asking why he had to carry juice boxes in his backpack or prick his finger during class. In part due to cultural values from being a first generation Asian American, Jeff never quite learned how to openly talk to others about diabetes in his youth, and instead tried to hide the condition, feeling ashamed. Jeff resented the idea of being different, and moreover hated the idea of going to diabetes camp or meeting others with diabetes, because he felt like he was in an “us (people with diabetes) versus them (the outside world)” situation. He didn’t understand the benefit of meeting or talking to others with diabetes.
Many years later, after graduating college, Jeff was invited by a friend to participate in a Carb DM event. Jeff recalls it being a transformative experience. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was part of a supportive community; one that brought energy and commitment to managing his condition – one that made him feel like he was not alone.
Through adulthood and with more exposure to the diabetes community, Jeff’s attitude and approach towards diabetes has gradually shifted. He no longer feels nervous about telling others about his diabetes; instead, he is confident in the knowledge that diabetes is a part of his life, but does not define who he is. He is eager to teach and spread awareness about diabetes, through his work at Glooko and as a Carb DM board member. His personal mission is to make sure others don’t go through the same isolation and challenges he went through as an adolescent and teenager.
Today, Jeff fully advocates for the necessity and value of having a support network of peers with diabetes such as Carb DM. He now meets regularly with other individuals with diabetes to swap stories, share information, and bond over their common experiences. He is an active participant in diabetes research, joining clinical trials and giving back to the diabetes community whenever possible. Jeff says, “Being around other individuals with diabetes helps build confidence and establish an identity for yourself, and it helps you realize that you are not alone in your condition“.
Carb DM’s mission is to provide Jeff and others with T1D the support network they need to thrive. We hope Jeff’s story inspires you to continue supporting Carb DM!