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Uninvisible Pod with Lauren Freedman

Nov 10, 2021

The idea behind non-profit community support organization Bolus Maximus began in late 2017 when Matt Tarro and Brandon A. Denson started having weekly discussions about their lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Coming from completely different backgrounds, the two actually had a lot in common — and recognized they both wanted to change the narrative around men’s freedom to express their emotions. Brandon has taken the helm of this movement in an effort to address the sheer lack of Black faces on organizational boards. A stand-out linebacker and walk-on at Michigan State, Brandon has played football at the highest level while living with diabetes (and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice while he was at it). His devotion to community, specifically working with young Black diabetics, is nothing short of inspiring — and his career in the AFL, CFL, and NFL has allowed him to connect with more and more young people living with his condition. Extreme sports suit Brandon’s counter-part, Matt, who grew up in a medical family and spent 10 years in digital advertising, media, and marketing. With a background in creative design and brand development, their work together is just getting started. Fun fact: Brandon was the first Black man with T1D to compete on an aired episode of American Ninja Warrior! As Matt & Brandon say, “Remember: it’s OK to ask for help, show emotions, or have bad days. Let’s talk about tough stuff.”

Tune in as Brandon & Matt share:

  • when and how they were both diagnosed with T1D
  • that when they were diagnosed, there was not support for teenage males with T1D
  • how technology advancements in diabetes care has changed their lives
  • how they were inspired to start giving back to their community
  • why chronic illness diagnoses can be so taxing — beyond the physical
  • the impact of Matt’s diabetic alert dog, Forest, on his life
  • how their diagnoses have impacted their relationships
  • what inspires them every day
  • why mental health support is so vital to survival with a chronic illness
  • when and why Matt began to address substance use
  • a discussion of ADA compliance in addressing individuals who work with service animals (and the animals themselves)
  • a discussion of access issues with regard to medical care and equipment for diabetes management
  • why money matters in the healthcare system
  • their advice for living well with T1D