Children With Diabetes Relax at Camp Vegas

Children with diabetes face special challenges, even when they're just spending a week at camp. A local camp is giving these kids a chance to relax, make new friends, and enjoy the great outdoors like any other kid. Eye on Health visited Mount Potosi for this week's Dealing with Diabetes report.

At Camp Vegas, three dozen children with Type-One diabetes are having fun and learning more about their disease. Each morning after breakfast, they check their glucose levels and give themselves insulin -- if they need it. For some, this will be the first time they've "self-administered," as the doctor calls it.

Erika Knight, 13, says the camp gives her a chance to talk with others in the same boat. "Because we can share things, like when we were diagnosed, like what did you go through. I was diagnosed last year. And I like to share how I was diagnosed and so other kids can relate and so I know it's not only me."

Camp director, Sarah Bieski knows exactly what Erika means. She herself was diagnosed as diabetic at age 5. Bieski says the camp provides an opportunity for bonding and also instills a can-do attitude. "I can remember a couple of years ago, where the kid said 'I can't go on a hike, I'm diabetic.' I was like, take a number. We're all diabetic, and we're going on this hike. So if they get that persona they can do anything, I think that helps."

The staff at Camp Vegas includes a physician, nurses, and dietitians. Several of them are diabetic as well. Bieski says if diabetes is managed well early on in life, it's less likely to place limitations on a child's future.

"And if they can understand why it's so important to manage it at such a young age, and we all know its easier to teach kids when they're younger, there doesn't have to be any complications. Diabetes is a very manageable disease," Bieski says.

Camp Vegas is one of 5 regional camps organized by the Nevada Diabetes Association for Children and Adults.

Email your comments to Anchor Paula Francis.

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