Claire Blum has lived with diabetes for more than 35 years. She is a registered nurse, a certified diabetes educator, and a certified health and wellness coach. Her graduate degree is in experiential education. She works in a diabetes and endocrine practice helping patients start and maintain insulin pump technology. AND she runs a nonprofit to empower people with diabetes to actively participate in their health care.
One way that Claire empowers and supports women with diabetes is by leading the DiabetesSisters of Chattanooga PODS Meetup that she started in summer 2012 after attending the first 2 DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women conferences. Claire has always known, and felt for herself, that there exists a great need for peer support for women with diabetes. She loves to offer women a place to meet and connect with each other - and with resources - for making their lives with diabetes easier.
Andrea Milligan met Claire and the PODS Meetup through her CDE, who suggested that Andrea try the group in early 2018. After a few meetings, Claire invited Andrea to help organize the administrative aspects of the group. “Our meetings are a relaxing time, and helping Claire makes me feel good.”
About 10 members usually attend the Meetups, where recent meeting themes and discussions have included:
- personal visions of members’ own health and wellness, comparing current and future goals
- looking at their own personal strengths
- carrying an attitude of gratitude to support their journeys with diabetes
- healthy snack options
- different aspects about pumping insulin
- DIY closed-loop insulin delivery systems
- ideas for quick and easy meals.
Claire had a chef with diabetes join the PODS for several Meetups to cook different healthy menu options and share the recipes. They have done a painting class together as well, just for fun.
Members love the focus on their strengths and empowerment. They also enjoy the Meetup’s open forum format where they can talk, share, and shape discussions to their personal needs.
As Andrea says, “I really enjoy the dSisters. On more than one occasion I’ve learned things about diabetes that help me and other women too.”
Claire remembers that being a PODS Leader helps her “focus on the things that truly matter. PODS Meetups connect me with my dSisters for strength and encouragement.”
Since 2010 the Part Of DiabetesSisters (PODS) Meetup program has offered monthly support to women living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, providing a safe and nonjudgmental 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 22 states) and online (members meet via computer cameras from the comfort of their own home). Women age 18 and up, living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, are invited to attend PODS Meetups. If you would like more information on local PODS Meetups near you, or starting a group in your community, please complete the PODS Meetup inquiry form –we look forward to hearing from you!