Julie Wilson had been a dedicated PODS Meetup member for several years in Rochester, NY when she attended her first DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women conference in Washington DC. That was in April 2014. Afterward, she decided that she wanted to amp up her participation, gain more perspective, and give even more to other women with diabetes. What better way than to become a PODS Leader herself? And so a new PODS Meetup was born in another part of Rochester.
Despite a few bumps in the road along the way to finding a location where PODS Meetups could be held each month, a core group of 4-6 women finds the time and energy to gather for peer support and education regarding life with diabetes. (And Julie recently secured a great meeting space in a local church that was available for regular monthly Meetups.) In addition to discussions PODS Leaders facilitate on monthly themes, the Rochester – College Town PODS has also covered emotions and feelings around diagnosis, various treatment options and choices, successes the members have experienced with diabetes management, and how diabetes and general well-being intersect.
Julie and other PODS members like the support that they give (and get from) the group, and appreciate knowing they are there. “We know we can reach out to each other outside of monthly meetings, like when we have a rough day living with diabetes and need someone to listen who gets it.”
Their support for each other is constant, even when they take a break from talking about diabetes. Last summer, the group decided to try some strictly social meetups such as bowling. They thought it was really nice to get away from the 24/7 of diabetes for a few hours and just have fun together.
No matter where they meet or what they talk about, Julie says “DiabetesSisters and PODS Meetups have changed my life with diabetes. I finally realized that I am not alone living with this disease. I would probably not be at my current level of good health with my diabetes journey if not for DiabetesSisters and the PODS Meetup program. Being a leader has allowed me to share my experiences, failures, and triumphs with others as we all continue to learn and support each other without judgment.”
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 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 18 states) and online (members meet via computer cameras from the comfort of their own home). Women age 18 and older, 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!
DiabetesSisters appreciates the Dexcom One Step Ahead Foundation and the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Alliance as the 2017 sponsors of our signature PODS Meetup program.