Supporting Children with Type 1 Diabetes: Local Group Helps Families Connect

art-215-diabetisThe Northern California Type 1 Diabetes Support Group has been serving families since 2009. The group works to help network and support families who face the challenges of having a child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The group is also a local network and outlet for adults in the community living with Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the pancreas and kills the insulin-producing cells, leaving the individual insulin dependent.

Those with Type 1 Diabetes must check their blood sugar many times throughout the day. They must inject insulin every time they eat or whenever they have high blood sugar. In addition, they must be vigilant in dealing with both low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). This can be extremely challenging for parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes.

The Northern California Type 1 Diabetes Support Group holds educational meetings for families and provides support to those dealing with a new diagnosis. “One of our main goals is to support newly diagnosed children and connect them with other families,” says Kathleen Manning, who serves as the group’s chairperson.

The group also promotes community events to raise awareness about diabetes, and organizes fundraisers to sponsor children with diabetes who hope to attend annual camps that promote independence and education for children of all ages.

Kids connect with each other quickly. “It’s nice that you get to meet new friends with diabetes and get to do fun activities,” says group member Brayden, age 8. “Sometimes having diabetes can be hard. I like that I don’t feel so alone and I can talk to other kids about it.”

Brayden has had diabetes for 6 years and wears an insulin pump. He talks to children who are new to the group. “I tell them not to worry – that they will be OK,” he says. Fellow group member Macy also appreciates the support of other kids: “I like to see other kids who are going through what I am going through. And it helps me feel better about myself.” 

For more information about the Northern California Type 1 Diabetes Group, visit ncdiabetesgroup.org or “like” them on Facebook. 

Young Athletes and Type 1 Diabetes

Children love to play sports and be active. Having Type 1 Diabetes can make for some added challenges. Brayden, age 8, races BMX for Type 1 BMX, an international team of bicycle racers with Type 1 Diabetes.

“When I race, I get excited and my blood sugar gets high. Afterwards, it can go low. I have to check my blood sugar more,” he says. This is the case for many young athletes who are part of the Northern California Type 1 Diabetes Group.

Many children in the group participate in sports, including soccer, lacrosse and baseball. Some are even accomplished gymnasts, swimmers, or compete in karate. All of these kids have the added challenge of tracking blood sugar levels.

Kids and parents have to be constantly vigilant and prepared with diabetes supplies and snacks. It’s important for children with Type 1 Diabetes to realize that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to and that diabetes does not need to hold them back. “People with diabetes can do anything they want,” says Brayden.

For more information, visit ncdiabetesgroup.org or connect with the group on Facebook.

About Michaela Battle

Michaela Battle is a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes and secretary of Northern California Type 1 Diabetes Support Group. She has been involved with the group since 2008.

Comments

  1. Wonderful family!!!!

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