JDRF One Walk Spotlight – Carb DM / Brave Buddies


By Meagan & Patrick Weiss, JDRF One Walk, Silicon Valley Committee Members

If you’re new to the area, newly-diagnosed, or just looking for additional resources, chances are someone has pointed you in the direction of Carb DM (a non-profit diabetes support group). Founded by Tamar Sofer-Geri after her daughter, Tia, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2009. Seven years later, Carb DM has grown into an expansive organization providing ongoing programs for Adults, Children (from babies to teenagers), and Parents/Caregivers. Recently, Carb DM also took over support and management of the Brave Buddies email and Yahoo group which has hundreds of members. Members email all types of T1D questions, at all hours of the day or night, and typically receive answers from the group within minutes. Tamar and Carb DM have built an amazing community of support and friendship within the Bay Area!

Tamar shared some thoughts about Carb DM and the JDRF OneWalk with us.

Why do you support the JDRF One Walk?
The first year Tia was diagnosed we supported the walk because we wanted to show Tia that she has the power to advocate for a cause she believes in and has a direct impact on her life. Since then, our walk team has grown from a “families” team to a community team, as the number of families on our team has grown. But the goal of the team and our participation remains the same.

How do you involve the Carb DM community with your walk team?
Throughout the year, almost on a daily basis, we reach out to newly diagnosed families or families who are new to the diabetes community and welcome them into the community. We connect them to Brave Buddies, Carb DM, and various other resources that are available to families in the Bay Area such as JDRF, DYF, etc. The JDRF OneWalk is a day when all those resources come to life in the form of one big type 1 diabetes celebration. People, organizations, companies, and medical professionals all gather in one place to celebrate and support the type 1 community. The goal of the Carb DM walk team is to bring as many of the newly diagnosed or new to the community families together so that no one misses out on the opportunity to connect with the community in such a meaningful way.

What do you want people to know about your Carb DM’s connection to JDRF?
Carb DM and JDRF are sisters-in-arms. We are both fighting the same good fight to support people with Type 1 Diabetes live healthier lives. Although our missions are different, Carb DM and JDRF Bay Area Chapter partner on many of our programs from Diabetes 101 for newly diagnosed families to Ready, Set, Go, College! for those who are heading off to college. We are excited to be launching our newest program, a mentoring program for youth with T1D. Carb DM was born to fill a gap in services that existed when my daughter, Tia, was diagnosed, and since then it’s been an honor to be able to work with JDRF to serve the T1D community.

Tell us about Carb DM.
Carb DM has three core values:
1) To ensure that everyone can benefit from our services no matter what their financial situation is. That means that no one is ever turned away from our programs because of lack of funds to pay for our programs.
2) To serve people of all ages and all levels of experience with T1D. That means that our programs don’t just target children or families and not just the newly diagnosed. We have programs for adults with diabetes whether they are newly-diagnosed at 50 or have been living with T1D for 50 years.
3) Carb DM is committed to serving underserved populations. This includes low-income populations, the Latino community who suffers from a language barrier, and other cultural communities who may have other barriers to managing diabetes at the highest levels possible.

A final note from Tamar:
Carb DM is always looking for ways to help people improve their quality of life and health outcomes. We know that the best way to accomplish that is by building successful partnerships with with medical professionals and other community advocates to improve our current programs and develop new ones. We welcome the community’s input and involvement. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them!

Register for the JDRF One Walk today! walk.jdrf.org