It’s a cold, drizzly night in Melbourne and smart people are curled up at home watching re-runs of Offspring.

But not me. Instead, along with another nine people I’m heading to a restaurant in Carlton to celebrate – #OzDOC style.

In the car, are my colleagues Kim and Kelly and some guy called Simon who we met in person the day before, but prior to that, we’d only ever conversed with on Twitter. And that was pretty much the case with the other people who would be meeting us at the restaurant.

(This is the point where my parents look at me in horror and wonder when I stopped becoming risk-averse. Getting together with people you’ve met online? Surely that’s dangerous.)

The occasion? Well, there wasn’t really one, so we created one. Simon from Adelaide was here on his way back from America. Obviously this is not the most direct route to get to Melbourne from the City of Churches, but then, as we learnt, Simon doesn’t do things the easy way.

I’m not going to tell you Simon’s story – it’s not mine to tell.  But you should look it up. Google #Simonpalooza and let yourself be guided to blogs, vlogs, YouTube and Twitter to let the story unfold. I will give you the dot point version:

  • Simon starts using Twitter
  • Simon is introduced to the DOC (diabetes online community)
  • Simon gets lots of support from said DOC
  • Simon gets on a plane and flies to meet people
  • Something huge happened in Kansas City and then again in NYC

I can boil it down even further. The DOC is amazing.

So last night, we invited some Melbourne DOC members to get together, hear Simon’s story and just hang out. Ten mostly-strangers (NOT mostly-strange) in a restaurant with nothing more than faulty beta cells in common. Coulda been awkward. But it wasn’t. It was inspiring.

There was not a lull in conversation at any time. Diabetes was but one topic of conversation. Others included camels, Shapelle Corby and a debate about whether sugar-coated ibuprofen does in fact make a good hypo treatment. Apparently, it works in Venice.

Today, I am still feeling warm and fuzzy from last night’s gathering. I feel that I have a new group of BFFs and can’t wait to hang out with them more. And I want you to join us!  Our next ‘get together’ is happening on Twitter in a couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for more details.

If you’re afraid of Twitter, please don’t be. Kerri Sparling over at Six Until Me did a great post about Finding Diabetes on Twitter. Have a read – it’s a great overview of the DOC and Twitter and will help you get started.

Our new hashtag will be #OzDOC. If you’re already on Twitter, keep an eye out and use it. And if you’re new to it all, I look forward to meeting you.