The 1953 opening of Camp Banting in eastern Ontario marked the beginning of the Canadian Diabetes Association’s camping tradition, which now includes 12 successful programs across the country. From the very beginning, D-Camps has provided children living with type 1 diabetes with opportunities to enjoy a camp experience while having all of their diabetes needs monitored by medical professionals to provide peace of mind for parents and children.
At home, in school or in their community, children living with diabetes often feel alone or isolated. At camp, kids have the opportunity to meet other children who also live with diabetes.
Below, Madison Reitvelt, Jessica Kotowich and Allison Amedick share their experiences of D-Camps. As they report, feeling like you are not alone is an incredibly empowering experience.
Next year will be Allison’s last year at D-Camps. “That makes me sad,” she says. “Diabetes has had a huge impact on my life since I was diagnosed just over six years ago, and although I can do anything my friends without diabetes can do, it comes with its own set of challenges.”
Something as simple as going to bed, comes with worries, says Allison. “You’ll never be certain that you’re going to wake up the next morning.” Allison and her mom have held community sales with all the proceeds going to diabetes research, and for five years have canvassed for the Canadian Diabetes Association. Her hope is that, through education, Canadians will come to better understand diabetes.
Many of the negative aspects of living with diabetes as a teenager stem from a lack of knowledge about the disease, says Madison. “There are a lot of misunderstandings. At school, even the teachers don’t fully understand it, which can make it hard.”
She and her family have been very active in the diabetes community, raising money for research through a garage sale, birthday party, galas and walks. Madison is a Canadian Diabetes Association champion and has worked with her family to advocate successfully for the introduction of an insulin pump program introduced earlier this year in Manitoba.
For Madison, the highlight of every year is D-Camps. “There are many memories that mean so much to me: meeting people and making friends, doing all the activities together – and not being singled out. If I was at another camp, we certainly wouldn’t all be testing our blood glucose at the same time.”
The Canadian Diabetes Association would like to thank CN for its generous support of D-Camps. To learn more about how the Canadian Diabetes Association is helping to provide a life-changing camp experience for children with type 1 diabetes, visit www.dcamps.ca.