In early 2012 college memes were flooding my Facebook newsfeed – photos with captions representing funny moments and day to day college life. This made me wonder, could I create memes like these about type 1 diabetes? After humming and hawing over the idea, I decided to take the plunge and created a page, Type 1 Diabetes Memes. I posted a couple meme ideas that I had, such as one about wondering if the Coke that I got at a restaurant was actually diet, or those times when you have low blood sugar and there is no good food in the house. The page was slow to take off, but before I knew it, the ‘likes’ were adding up. It wasn’t until my friend Meredith Miller, a fellow university student I’d met at a type 1 diabetes event in Ontario, joined me that the page truly grew beyond any expectation I’d ever had for it.
At first, our goal for the page was to share a laugh with others who were dealing with type 1 diabetes, whether a person with diabetes, a spouse or parent. What Meredith and I didn’t realize was how significant this page was going to be, that that we were creating an online diabetes community like no other. Type 1 Diabetes Memes became the place where people could laugh and bond over their frustrations, like their pump tubing getting caught on door handles, or someone asking them if they ate too much sugar as a child. Type 1 Diabetes Memes also became a place to poke fun at a disease that can be so daunting and frustrating.
After some time passed, Meredith and I started a weekly caption contest that has been our signature mark. The caption contest allows fans to post their jokes alongside a photo we’ve chosen. A winner is picked every Sunday. Fans are encouraged to post their own original memes on our Facebook wall for us to share with our followers.
We have also created the Type 1 Diabetes Meme Online Store in connection with the page (with over 20 uniquely type 1 diabetes designs), so that the community and laughter can go beyond the computer screen. Now with almost 30,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, we are working on ways to grow the community in order to reach and help more people living with diabetes feel connected.
The inspiration and motivation for keeping Type 1 Diabetes Memes alive comes in many forms. Meredith and I both live with type 1 diabetes, and the memes are created from all the day to day or funny diabetes experiences we have. The messages we receive from ours fans are our driving force for creating more memes, and building the community. We are an international page that shares one common aspect, we all live with type 1 diabetes. Laughter really is the best medicine for living with type 1 diabetes, second to insulin, of course.