T1 Bucs provide community for individuals with diabetes

There’s a new organization on campus dedicated to building a community around students, faculty and staff that are living with Type 1 diabetes. T1 Bucs will hold its first meeting Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room 4A on the third floor of the Culp Center.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin due to insulin-producing cells being mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, approximately 1.25 million Americans live with Type 1 diabetes, with 5 million expected to be diagnosed by 2050.

Jessica Leu, the faculty sponsor for T1 Bucs, has worked with people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes professionally for over 15 years. Leu came to ETSU in August of 2018 to fill the role of campus dietitian for Sodexo. Leu has a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and is a certified diabetes educator.

“My role here is to promote the health and well being of students,” said Leu. “I wanted to use my role to improve students’ quality of life.”

Following T1 Bucs inaugural meeting, Leu said that students will dictate exactly how the group grows but hopes that T1 Bucs will grow into a massive community of support for students, faculty and staff of ETSU that are living with Type 1 diabetes.

“Transitioning from high school to college is difficult enough without the added difficulty of a chronic disease – it can be isolating,” said Leu.

T1 Bucs will offer a space for individuals with Type 1 diabetes, as well as close friends and family, to come together to learn more about the disease while also helping students learn about their peers.

“I think it’s super cool that someone is building a community for people with diabetes at ETSU,” said Jamie Lung, an ETSU alum diagnosed with diabetes. “I definitely would have joined up if it had existed before I graduated.”

Disability Services and the University Health Center will be partnering with T1 Bucs to provide resources to students.

If you are interested in joining T1 Bucs or finding out more information about the organization, you can contact Leu at Jessica.leu@sodexo.com or attend the first meeting on Nov. 13.

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