By Jacqueline Lane

A new free community resource was officially opened to the public with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday, June 29, at YMCA Cape Cod in Hyannis. The Diabetes Resource Center (DRC), supported by funding from The Frances X. and Mary E. Weny Charitable Trust and the dream of Roger Ludwig, Trustee of the Weny Trust offers education, counseling, and programming for those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes as well as those diagnosed as pre-diabetic. The center, easily accessible at the front entrance of the YMCA, is free and open to all, providing support services and resource materials for the general public. This menu of services offered at the DRC is specifically aimed at assisting those struggling with diabetes and prediabetes to more effectively cope with the disease and its life-altering physical and emotional consequences.

The DRC programming and counseling embraces the ‘whole person’ approach when addressing the lifestyle components needed for living and coping with a chronic illness such as diabetes. The YMCA teaches about and offers classes and information on diet and exercise, while NAMI CC&I addresses the emotional and mental health issues that often come with a demand for life style changes.

There is also a very strong comorbidity between depression and diabetes, often related to medication. Emotional wellbeing is essential in achieving and maintaining resilience as one learns to live with a chronic illness.

A multi-week diabetes “boot camp” is being developed through a collaboration of community partners. This program can be adapted for children/parents, adults, and the elderly. Classes will be held at the Y, but also can be offered at other locations around the Cape. The center will also offer ongoing support groups addressing both mental and physical health. Special programs and a diabetes conference are also planned for the coming months.

The opening of the DRC is the fulfillment of the vision of Roger Ludwig, who experienced firsthand the many frustrating issues facing the parents of a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when his own son was diagnosed at age 7. As Trustee of the Weny Charitable Trust, he has been given the opportunity to furnish a valuable community resource to address these difficult issues he and his family faced. Ludwig also has established a Diabetes Resource Center at the YMCA in Naples, Florida, where he has a winter home.

Jacqueline Lane is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Cape Cod & the Islands. Learn more about the DRC at ymcacapecod.org/programs/health-well-being/diabetes-center or call (508) 362-6500.