Local Video Series Sheds Light on Type 1 Diabetes
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local health-care worker is raising awareness for Type 1 diabetes — a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin — through videography and is attempting to normalize discussion around the autoimmune disease.
Carly Beery, a surgical technologist at Berkshire Medical Center, was diagnosed at the age of 11 years and is now creating a video series called "Diabetics Eatz" that outlines day-to-day life with diabetes while highlighting local eateries.
"I want to create content that links diabetics, that's 17 million of us in America, but also our friends and family that go through this struggle maybe not even knowing what's really wrong with us or how our life is on a day-to-day regular basis living with this chronic illness," Beery says in a campaign video.
The project is currently aiming to raise $10,000 for a pilot episode by mid-June. This will toward the necessities of film making including lights, cameras, the people behind them, as well as production and editing,
The content will be co-produced by Beery herself with local videographer/photographer and Berkshire International Film Festival participant Justin Allen.
Beery will speak casually on the details of the disease such as symptoms of blood sugar discrepancies, testing your blood sugar in public, the plethora of medical supplies diabetics have to carry around at all times, and how the diagnosis completely changes the way a person thinks about food.
"Carbs are wild, there are different types, and they all do a different thing," she said in regard to the extensive carbohydrate and sugar monitoring diabetics have to do to stay alive.
Diabetics face a number of health risks including diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening problem that occurs when the body starts breaking down fat at a rate that is much too fast and the liver processes the fat into a fuel called ketones, causing the blood to become acidic
At the same time, Beery will shine a light on local restaurants that have pulled through the pandemic. The 15 to 20 minute-long pilot episode will be filmed at the newly expanded Thistle and Mirth and feature its employees.
She will discuss Type 1 diabetes with the restaurant's owners Joad Bowman and Austin Oliver and bartender Zack Morris.
"What we want to do is make it look as professional as possible like you're watching a TV show, basically," she said. "The episode will definitely have a structure, it's going to be educational, but also about food and how it affects us."
By bringing in personalities such as Morris, Beery is trying to make the content relatable and enjoyable for everyone while speaking about a very serious matter.
Beery said her diagnosis was sudden and scary and that she didn't grasp the lifelong impact of it. She was sent to juvenile diabetes support groups and found that they were helpful, but also isolating.
There is even a lack of education on Type 1 diabetes in the health care field, she said, because of ever-changing technology that is available but never taught.
"It's one of the highest co-morbidities in America and it comes out with the most complications, but nobody really knows how to address it, or which types of things we're using. Let's be real, technology's changed," she added.
"I used to use a syringe and an insulin vial and now I have a pump that works wirelessly and a continuous glucose monitor that checks my blood sugar every five minutes, so we've made a lot of strides but nobody's talking about it."
Since releasing a campaign video, Beery said many Type 1 diabetics have "come out of the woodwork" and shown support for the project.
Though the goal is to reach Berkshire County residents first, Beery eventually wishes for "Diabetic Eatz" to reach people nationally and have sponsors. To make this possible, she said, there are many ways to support the project including donations and interacting with the content on social media.
"Diabetic Eatz" can be found on Instagram, Youtube, and GoFundMe.
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