In Summer 2018, Helena Kierstead randomly decided to step out of her comfort zone. There were very few support groups for people with diabetes in the greater Portland, OR area, and she knew she wanted to find one. As someone who is adept at searching for info and resources online, she started searching for in-person peer support for women living with diabetes. She found the DiabetesSisters website, saw "become a PODS Leader" link, and clicked it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, the Greater Portland PODS Meetup has grown to an average of 5 members each month. The group has discussed topics such as heart health, dealing with doctors, and different foods that are lower carb but actually taste great. And outside of the official meetings, a few members have gotten together for a beverage and poutine.
Group members say that the PODS Meetup is fabulous, and it helps them stay centered; they like that it helps with accountability; they love their camaraderie and networking that they get from each other; and the meeting gives their loved ones a break from all of the diabetes talk that comes with living with this condition.
Helena says leading a PODS Meetup is a very positive thing for her - "it gets me out of my house and helps me focus on diabetes more than I normally would. We all really enjoy meeting together, and that's what matters to me."
Since 2010 the Part Of DiabetesSisters (PODS) Meetup program has offered monthly support to women living with any type of diabetes or prediabetes, and provided a nonjudgmental place to discuss the successes and challenges of living with diabetes. Led by women lwho live 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!