Carb DM is excited to launch our Diabetes Heroes Campaign, celebrating people who give back to the Carb DM diabetes community. Our heroes appreciate the positive impact that Carb DM has on their lives, and want to keep that community going. Who better to kick off this year’s Diabetes Heroes campaign than Carb DM’s new Executive Director Krystle Samai? Keep reading to learn about Krystle and her inspiring story.
Krystle Samai was diagnosed when she was just nine years old. Even now, after all this time, she still remembers how lonely and scared she felt. Her family didn’t know anybody with diabetes. Krystle jokes, “Only the cat down the street and my good friend’s grandmother had diabetes”.
Growing up, Krystle experienced years of loneliness as the only child in her school with diabetes. She remembers being the only person at a birthday party drinking Diet Coke. Other children would tell her things like, “You must have been a fat baby” or “You must have eaten too much sugar”. Comments like that only increased Krystle’s sense of isolation. Another common remark: “Why do you have diabetes?”. Krystle barely knew the answer to that one herself.
A turning point
The first time Krystle truly felt like she belonged was when she began attending diabetes summer camp with her family. At DYF’s Bearskin Meadow Camp, Krystle met people who understood what it was like to live with a chronic, life-changing condition. She remembers telling her brother, “I’m normal here. You’re the weird one. The people here are like me. We all take shots. We all count our carbs. These are my people”.
Krystle wasn’t the only one who had discovered something new. Her parents met other parents who understood what it was like to let their child attend a sleepover. They met others who, like them, worried about not knowing how many carbs to give in the middle of the night.
Even more important, going to camp gave Krystle a glimpse of the future. At camp, she met people in college. She met people in their twenties and thirties. She met people living full lives with type 1 diabetes. As Krystle put it, “It was the first moment that I believed I would live to see my thirties and forties and live a long, healthy life”.
Part of the community
Krystle had found her tribe. Over the years, she developed and maintained close ties with the diabetes community. Krystle has worked for various T1D device manufacturing companies in marketing and customer support. She also volunteers for various diabetes nonprofit, taking on the roles of counselor, support staff, fundraiser, and volunteer.
Now Krystle takes on yet another role in the diabetes community: that of Carb DM’s Executive Director. Krystle has seen first-hand the benefits of belonging to a community of people with shared experiences and understandings. She knows the importance of community an the impact it has on the experiences of people living with type 1 diabetes — and that’s exactly what makes her the perfect person to take on the role of Carb DM. Krystle says, “I’m so excited to be here, because now I get to be a part of making sure that other people get to have those moments”. Donate to Carb DM today, and you can help Krystle give others the same life-changing moments she had.