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Sun, Nov. 29

Diabetes support group helps those with disease cope

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - When doctors diagnosed Kate Cornell with diabetes in 2005, she turned to the Internet for support.

She found it by participating in online forums and starting a blog to help motivate her to control her diabetes.

"But I realized there's a lot of people in our town who maybe don't get online and could use some support," Cornell said.

Since September, Cornell has organized a diabetes support group. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at North Country HealthCare's Williams Clinic, 301 S. Seventh St. The meetings are free and typically last about one hour.

"My participation grew from the desire to do something locally, to do something for my community, because I know there's a lot of people unfortunately who have diabetes who live in the area," she said.

Williams has had a diabetes support group for about 10 years, but when the previous organizer stepped down, Cornell got involved.

So far the group has about six participants, but Cornell hopes that number will grow.

The meetings allow participants to talk with others about their experience with the disease and provide support to each other.

People with diabetes must manage the disease 24/7, Cornell said.

"And sometimes that's frustrating and confusing and it's just nice to hear someone else say, 'I know what you mean,' or 'I've done that before,' or 'I understand,'" she said. "It's just that feeling of you're not alone is really important."

Another purpose of the group is to provide information. Cornell plans to invite guest speakers to talk about issues relating to the disease.

"Diabetes is a lifestyle change," she said. "We have to change what we're eating, we often have to take medication, and we have to increase our exercise."

By educating people with diabetes, Cornell hopes the group can help educate the general public and clear up some misconceptions about the disease.

While she'd rather not have diabetes, Cornell has a positive outlook about the disease.

"It's probably one of the best things that ever happened to me, which sounds really bizarre, but I'm healthier now than I ever was, paying much more attention to my health," she said.

More information about the support group is available from Cornell at (928) 221-0624.

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