Carb DM would not be the community that it is without the hard work and support of our volunteers. Many of Carb DM’s events require a lot of manpower; fortunately, there are many in the community who are willing and able to step up and help. Our volunteers put in many hours of effort to plan, set up, and run our events. We are starting a Meet Our Volunteers blog post series to introduce readers to our volunteers, how they help Carb DM and why they do it. It’s our small way of recognizing our wonderful volunteers and showing our appreciation! Today’s featured volunteer is our Little Carbs in the Park host, Marion Beach.
Congratulations, you’re a new parent! Now what? Parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so new parents have to seek support and advice wherever they can. For parents of kids with T1D, the day after diagnosis is like starting all over again: figuring out what to do, adjusting to a new “normal”, and seeking people who have been there, done that, to tell you what to do and tell you it’s going to be okay. One of the best places to find parenting support and advice is a playgroup, and Carb DM has just the thing for parents of young kids with T1D: Little Carbs in the Park.
Little Carbs in the Park is a gathering for children with T1D 10 and younger, their siblings, parents, and extended families. At Little Carbs in the Park events, kids with T1D get a chance to meet other T1Ders, siblings meet other siblings, and parents chat with other parents.
Just like all successful programs, Little Carbs in the Park needs someone to organize and run events. The Palo Alto T1D community is lucky to have Marion Beach as our Little Carbs in the Park host. Marion is a born and bred Palo Alto native. Her parents came to San Francisco from Germany on their honeymoon and stayed. Born at Stanford hospital, attending Menlo-Atherton high school, San Jose State for college (and now teaching there), meeting her husband at a Palo Alto restaurant and now living downtown Palo Alto, Marion never wanted to leave this amazing area.
Life became complicated when two-year- old Max was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2009. From the beginning, Marion longed to talk with parents who understood the struggles of managing this disease for their children. After attending some very helpful Carb DM events (Coffee and Carbs and family ice skating) Marion and her friend Denise asked to lead a monthly after school play group at Johnson Park so their Type 1 kids could play together and parents could talk.
Thus, Carb DM’s Little Carbs in the Park in Palo Alto was born. For several years now, the program has become an important monthly support group for the local T1D parenting community. Newly diagnosed families find comfort in seeing veteran kids thriving with T1. For example, Max takes his job very seriously of rolling up his shirt and showing “Newbies” his pump and CGM. Shell shocked parents (often attending the first week their child was diagnosed) have a place to talk, cry and ask questions of parents who “get it”. Parents (and kids) who have been “living the new normal” for years still enjoy venting and telling diabetes stories. There are many ridiculous T1 moments to share, from doing creative math counting carbs and extending pizza boluses to chasing our kids around yelling, “You may not go play until you finish eating this sugary dessert”.
Marion’s favorite part is watching a group of parents jump up to inspect various diabetes machines whenever something beeps. After a while, all beeps sound alike and blend together in the group! Come to think of it, that isn’t such a bad thing. After all, we are all in this together.
Thank you Marion for your hard work and dedication! We appreciate all that you do for the Carb DM community.