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 Meredith Friedman. Meredith is Carb DM’s Program Manager. She is the driving force behind Carb DM’s most popular programs, including Type 1 Topics, Carbs in the Park and Coffee & Carbs. She is responsible for the informative newsletters that Carb DM members receive every month, and she takes the lead on our special events such as the Coyote Point 5k.
Meredith has been with Carb DM just four short months, but she joined the Carb DM family three years ago when her son Max was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As luck would have it, she had a friend whose son had been diagnosed 8 years prior. Meredith asked her friend what she needed to know “right now”, and the friend told her to 1) get this scale from Bed Bath & Beyond, and 2) join Brave Buddies. She has relied on Brave Buddies for advice and support ever since.
When Max was first diagnosed, the Friedmans were overwhelmed and sad — but they were lucky enough to know people in the T1 community. They knew they didn’t have to be scared; Max was going to be okay and that this was something they would learn to handle. Over the years, the importance of a supportive community became evident in so many ways. For example, Meredith learned that more open social media forums such as Facebook or online diabetes chats, can be opinionated and judgemental, which can be overwhelming for families early in their diabetes journey. She advises new families to start with moderated forums like Brave Buddies, then gradually broaden their online presence once they are feeling more confident in their own systems for diabetes management. Through Brave Buddies, the Friedmans connected with a T1D family just like theirs — Mom, Dad, T1D and Little Brother — and have formed a “real life” friendship that has enriched the lives of both families.
As Program Manager, Meredith has organized and attended several events such as Type 1 Topics, Diabetes 101, Beer & Basals, World Diabetes Day celebrations, and the Coyote Point 5k. She has helped to start a new East Bay Coffee & Carbs. Her favorite event so far has been the Big Blue Party that Carb DM held for World Diabetes Day 2019, where she got to meet so many in the Carb DM community in person. Meredith says, “It was part social hour and part inspirational programming. It was my first big event for Carb DM and it was really special to see all the pieces come together.” The Big Blue Party was her son Max’s first Carb DM program. The next day, Max’s words were like music to any mom’s ears: “Mom – that event was like – a REAL event – it was really awesome.”
Meredith loves being a part of the Carb DM community. “It’s been amazing,” she says. “I personally have learned so much at the Type 1 Topics I’ve attended (like that anaerobic exercise actually INCREASES blood sugar – WHAT???) And I have just loved being able to support other families who are at newer stages of their diabetes journey than I am. But I think the greatest gift this community has given me is the ability to connect with ADULTS with T1D – they are able to provide me with an entirely different perspective on what’s going on with Max and how to support him.”
Recently, Meredith was with Carb DM’s Executive Director, Krystle Samai, and Meredith was frustrated with her son and cursing his Dexcom graph. Krystle helped her put things in perspective: “See all those in range numbers? Max did that. See that spike that makes you mad? Max didn’t do that – diabetes did that. That’s the power of community in a nutshell. As Meredith puts it, “This bear of a disease is just so much harder in a vacuum. You can’t possibly learn it all from books or doctors – you need real life people hacking diabetes every day to help guide you. So look for real people you can connect with in real life – go to events, don’t just read the recap. Look for peers for everyone in your family. As we say at Carb DM, diabetes is so much better with friends.”