WHEELING, W.Va. A support group for area residents with Type 1 diabetes is being formed at Wheeling Hospital, and the first meeting will provide an ideal outreach opportunity for area families.

Dr. Amy Jean, pediatric endocrinologist at Wheeling Hospitals Center for Pediatrics, and Tammy Owen, president of the West Virginia branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), are organizing the group. The kick-off event open to the public and all adults and children with Type 1 diabetes, as well as their family and friends is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. March 9 in the hospital auditorium.

There will be activities for the kids, snacks and refreshments, and opportunities to connect with other Type 1 families in the Ohio Valley, Jean said. This opportunity to connect with other Type 1s and families of Type 1s is a key component of the outreach program being promoted by the West Virginia Branch of JDRF.

Coming from Michigan to address the attendees will be a teenager Tyler Kramer and his family. The Kramers are involved in the A1C Champions youth/parent program created for children and families with Type 1 diabetes. A1C is a measure of blood glucose control.

Tyler has served as a Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Associations Tour de Cure, while also helping raise tens of thousands of dollars for his familys foundation, Diabetes Research & Education Advocates of Michigan DREAM, Jean said.

The Kramers will present their program, Our Diabetes Journey.

Also at the event will be information and examples of the latest technology in glucometers and insulin pumps.

In addition, attendees also will have an opportunity to register for the annual Walk For a Cure to be held on May 19 in Charleston, W.Va. JDRF volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about creating family teams.

Newly diagnosed Type 1 children attending the March 9 Wheeling Hospital support group event also will receive a JDRF Bag of Hope. The colorful backpacks contain Rufus, a stuffed diabetic bear, free glucometer with test strips, and numerous books, DVDs and other helpful educational information.

Information on the mentor program created by the West Virginia Branch of JDRF will be available. Through the program, Type 1 children are matched with an older teen or adult Type 1 mentor; Type 1 teens are matched with adult Type 1; and parents of newly diagnosed and younger children are matched with parents who have raised a type 1 child.

The March 9 event will be the perfect opportunity to start these important lifelong mentorships, said Jean.

Reservations are requested but not required. Contact Owen at 304-549-9181 or by email at tjo@goodwingoodwin.com; local JDRF volunteer Kelly Gilmore at 304-621-1079 or by email at kellygilmore79@aol.com; or Jean at 304-243-8849.