A young woman from Belfast has launched a new online group for 18-30 year olds who are living with Type 1 diabetes. Jessica Anderson started the group for the greater Belfast area, with the support of local charity, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.
Jessica, aged 27, explained: “I have been living with Type 1 diabetes since I was 14 years old. While there is no good time to be diagnosed, it was pretty awful during my teen years when I felt like I already had enough to deal with. I fought against it, not wanting to accept that I now had to deal with this lifelong condition that was never going to go away.
“It wasn’t until I was 23 and got involved with a Diabetes UK project, Type 1 Uncut, and I got to meet other young people with the same condition that I started to own my diabetes and deal with it properly. Having that peer support absolutely made the difference for me and that is why I really wanted to start this group for young adults in the same boat.”
The Belfast Adult Diabetic Type 1s or ‘BAD Type 1s’ as is the name of their Facebook group page, is for 18-30 year olds who live with Type 1 diabetes. The need for the group came up as there are so many different support groups across Northern Ireland but none specifically for younger adults.
Jessica, added: “It isn’t about forcing friendships but rather just connecting people and sharing experiences so we can all provide that peer support that so helped me. Type 1 diabetes may connect us, but there is more to us than this condition and I hope we can celebrate that, as well as being able to find the hidden joys and humour that diabetes can sometimes entail.”
Heather Causer, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland’s Volunteer Development Manager, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Jessica and everyone else involved in the launch of this group. Online support is growing in importance as people delve in and out of peer support as and when they need it.
“This is another new way to get connected and keep in touch with people who understand what you are going through.”
If you would like to know more about the group or join then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or just search for ‘BAD Type1s’ on Facebook.
To find out about online and offline peer support groups then please get in touch with NIvolunteering@diabetes.org.uk or call Diabetes UK Northern Ireland 9066 6646.