Group creating support for juvenile diabetics

Sequim Gazette staff
After a series of exploratory meetings to identify the gaps in services offered to Type 1 diabetics and their families, a core group of individuals is organizing a support group and other resources.

Jo Johnston, a mother and grandmother of diabetic family members, has worked closely with Kyle Cronk, CEO of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, and Brian Kuh, a commercial lender with Columbia Bank and a Type 1 diabetic, to identify what community needs exist and what current resources are available.

“We’ve discovered that although there are good programs in place for diabetics in our area, most of them are directed toward Type 2 diabetes, which is an adult-onset disease,” Johnston said.

“Type 1 diabetics are usually children when diagnosed, so there is an entirely different set of needs for those individuals and the parents and family members who take care of them. For example, Type 1 diabetics are not able to manage their disease through diet as Type 2 diabetics can.”

Cronk agrees, saying that national and local (YMCA) have re-focused their efforts on healthy living for children and young adults.

“Supporting juvenile diabetes needs across the peninsula is a natural fit for the (YMCA), so we’re happy to leverage the resources we have available to do that,” Cronk said.

For Kuh, the motivation is a little different.

“I was a teenager when I was diagnosed and that was hard enough,” he said.

“I want to be a support resource for those kids who have to deal with the enormity of this disease at such a young age — show them that they can manage it effectively and live a normal life in the process. I also benefit from having a group of peers who will help me stay accountable and healthy.”

The group’s initial efforts are focused on reaching out to the Type 1 diabetics and their health care providers. With that database, meetings will be scheduled to allow people to connect and share their ideas for support resources needed.

A sign-up sheet is available at the free Clallam YMCA Family Night from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, or sign up with Cronk at
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