Shortly after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 48, PODS Leader Gayle McKenna felt alone and like she was in desperate need of support. She attended a DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women conference, and found strong bonds of understanding and peer support from other women who “get it.” At the Los Angeles conference in 2014 she connected with several women near her who were also interested in creating a PODS Meetup. They began gathering together, Gayle kept networking to get more women who were interested, and three years later the group is still going strong.
Twelve women with diabetes from the surrounding Ventura County and San Fernando Valley areas gather monthly for the DiabetesSisters PODS Meetup at a member’s home in Agoura Hills, CA. They discuss monthly themes such as heart health, hormones, and fitness, and sometimes bring in guest speakers such as Christel Oerum of DiabetesStrong.com (also a guest expert blogger for diabetessisters.org AND a speaker at the 2017 DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women Conference).
The group is diverse in both age and duration of living with diabetes (from diagnosed in the last year/honeymoon stage to 50+ years with diabetes). As Gayle says, “We all have the same disease yet not one of us has the same treatment. We can identify with each other with our everyday struggles and successes, and thus the gift to one another is that we are not alone.”
Since starting the PODS Meetup Gayle has learned that although she started this journey with the intention of trying to find support for herself, she is able to offer support and make a difference in the lives of other women who live every day with this disease.
Since 2010, the PODS (Part Of DiabetesSisters) Meetup Program has offered monthly support to women living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, providing a safe and non-judgmental place to discuss the successes and challenges of living with diabetes. Led by women living with diabetes, the groups offer true peer support focused on women and diabetes. The PODS Meetup Program reaches more than 1,300 women annually in person (in 18 states) and online (members meet via computer cameras from the comfort of their own home). Women living with all types of diabetes are invited to attend PODS Meetups. If you would like more information on meetings in your area, or starting your own Meetup group, please complete the PODS Meetup inquiry form – we look forward to hearing from you!
DiabetesSisters would like to express appreciation to the Dexcom One Step Ahead Foundation and the Boehringer-Ingelheim-Lilly Alliance as the 2017 sponsors of our signature PODS Meetup program.