Building a Diverse T1D Community: Ann Arbor JDRF Networking Coffee Group

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Ann ArborIn spring 2015, Adrianne Taylor’s son, James, got the flu that lasted quite a few days. It wasn’t until the Taylor’s family vacation in July when they noticed something was still not right. “We had to stop the car every 30 minutes for James to use the bathroom,” Adrianne recalled.

Upon arriving home, the Taylors took James to see their doctor first thing in the morning. Test results revealed James had type 1 diabetes (T1D), and he was immediately admitted to the Emergency Room. Adrianne added, “It was kind of a whirlwind.”

With James being one of five boys in the family, belonging to a group and having support was really important to the Taylor family, which is why Adrianne launched the Ann Arbor JDRF Networking Coffee Group in fall 2016.

“Most people when they’re diagnosed don’t have any formal training, so when James was diagnosed I was a bit discouraged,” said Adrianne. “I wanted other people who are newly diagnosed, or who have newly diagnosed children, not to have to feel this way.”

Today the group, comprised of adults and families, meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at Brewed Awakenings in Saline. Meetings and topics of discussion vary from talking about daily challenges as working adults to having representatives from pump companies come in to talk about devices and new technology to having a dietician discuss healthy eating and best practices.

“You’re never alone. There’s always someone a phone call, an email or a text away,” said Adrianne. “JDRF has been encouraging since James’s diagnosis, and I strive to be a representative of that by encouraging others.”

Today, James loves to play basketball, soccer, flag football and swim. Adrianne added, “We’re a very sports-minded family so to know that James could still do the things he loves was a sigh of relief.” In addition his participation in athletics, James also served as a JDRF Youth Ambassador in 2016 and continues to use the JDRF platform to help raise awareness about T1D and address common misconceptions about the disease.

The Taylor family has also participated in the JDRF One Walk since James was diagnosed in 2015. Appointed as Family Team Chair for One Walk, Adrianne will walk alongside her son, family and friends for the third year in a row to help Turn Type One into Type None at the JDRF One Walk – Ann Arbor on Sept. 24, 2017 as Team AT3.

The Ann Arbor Networking Coffee Group is also active on the closed Washtenaw County T1D Support Group Facebook page. The online forum provides a safe place for people in Washtenaw County to share best practices, advice and support for living with T1D.

If you are from Washtenaw County and are interested in joining the Ann Arbor JDRF Networking Coffee Group and/or the group’s closed Facebook group, contact Adrianne Taylor at adriannejoytay@gmail.com.