What began as a midterm study session for graduate students enrolled in the School of Social Work has become a group dedicated to the support, advocacy and education of families living with Type 1 diabetes.
T1D, formally known as the ACU Diabetes Service Planning Group, expanded from Â its original purpose -Â to provide support for families who have members diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes -Â to increase awareness of the condition and available community-building activities within Abilene and the surrounding areas.
In addition to regular meetings, the group is planning an upcoming 5K walk, a T1D Fun Festival and World Diabetes Day celebrations.
Darrell Jordan, assistant professor of social work, said he is excited about what T1D already has done to raise global awareness and anticipates the group’s plans to further the cause.
T1D was created to “fill a void by providing psychosocial support to parents and children with Type 1 diabetes and is now taking on a life of its own,” he said.
This was reflected when Abilene joined an international effort to Â show support on World Diabetes Day, which Mayor Norm Archibald declared to be Nov. 14. The World Diabetes Day logo, a blue circle,was arranged in blue lights around the Frontier Texas! monument to show support, Jordan said. TheÂ Abilene Civic Center was also flooded with blue lighting for the night.
The group will continue to meet twice per month at Hillcrest Church of Christ to provide support to one another and to families of those newly diagnosed. The large group will often split into breakout groups of siblings, parents and children with diabetes.
In addition to a time of discussion and support, medical salesmen, doctors, nurses and others living with Type 1 diabetes will speak about healthy habits and lifestyles.
It’s about “releasing the pressure,” said Steve Eller, certified EAP therapist and counselor in the Counseling Center. “If we can do that, then it’s a lot easier to deal with the tough times.”
Eller joined the program about one year ago and is the facilitator and leader for T1D. He also helped create a T1D blog where parents and kids can share stories.
“You can come and be who you are in an unthreatening and nonjudgmental environment,” Eller said.