August 11th, 2018, Port Stanley - Today in the Port Stanley Foodland parking lot
was a fundraiser called "Put A Squeeze on Diabetes" that was being hosted by 10
year old Darby Marrs of St. Thomas. Looking at Darby now, people see a healthy happy
ten year old having a grand old time serving up lemonade to help pay for sending
kids with type 1 diabetes to summer camp. But looks can be deceiving, not long ago
during Thanksgiving in 2016 Darby got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and from that
time on has been taking insulin, counting dietary carbohydrates, monitoring blood
sugar, eating healthy foods and keeping a healthy weight through exercise.
At first Darby was taking five needles of insulin a day, but now wears a insulin
pump 24/7 to control her insulin levels which makes living with type 1 diabetes
a lot easier. An insulin pump for those that can afford it can cost $6,000, but
luckily government assistance picks up most of the cost. Her routine begins when
she wakes up by checking her sugar level, then before she eats she will check the
quantity of carbohydrates in her next meal and enter that number of carbohydrates
into her insulin pump, and the pump will deliver the correct dosage according to
the entered number of carbohydrates.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease with no cure. Diabetes introduces kids to a
new reality, one that makes them feel different from their friends. For many kids,
there is no one else in their school or community who has diabetes and daily management
of their disease can be a real challenge.
A diagnosis also requires a whole new set of skills for kids to learn: how to test
their blood glucose (sugar) levels, prime a needle for injection, insert a pump
site, count carbs, recognize high or low blood sugar, and maintain a balance between
food, insulin and activity.
At D-Camps however, campers get a break from being different. Many children don't
know anyone else also living with diabetes, at camp they have an opportunity to
meet other kids living with type 1 and this increases their self esteem, creates
lifelong connections and help them to live healthier lives. Many of our campers
return to become leaders/staff.
The staff to camper ratio is approximately 2:1. This helps give parents peace of
mind and ensures the best possible care for all campers. Diabetes requires around
the clock maintenance and with the careful guidance of camp and medical staff children
learn to independently self-manage their diabetes.
For more information about the D-Camps program please click here.