Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were recently invited to spend the day playing games, making friends and learning ways to manage their disease during a Hot Shots Diabetes Camp held at Southern Ohio Medical Center June 9.
Twenty participants between the ages of six and 13 attended the daylong event, which featured many activities including educational arts and crafts, cooking and carbohydrate counting, and physical exercise through Zumba, swimming and basketball.
“We wanted to host a program that would not only give children the chance to have fun learning about diabetes, but also meet others their age who share in the same day-to-day struggles and triumphs,” Ashley Salyers, clinical educator and counselor of the Hot Shots Camp, said.
SOMC Dietician and Hot Shots Counselor Kim McCray explained that many children with diabetes are often the only ones in their families or schools diagnosed with the disease, causing them to feel alone or different.
“Being diagnosed with diabetes at such a young age can be challenging because you don’t always have someone to turn to who understands exactly what you’re going through,” she said. “Hot Shots Camp showed participants that there are others in their shoes who can provide a special kind of support.”
Nine-year-old Morgan Rawlins agreed with McCray, saying her favorite part of the day was meeting new people who were just like her.
“Before coming to camp, I didn’t know any one else my age who had diabetes. Now I have twenty new friends and know I’m not alone. It makes me feel better,” she said.
As a type 1 diabetic herself, McCray said she could relate to the issues discussed during the camp and was glad to see so many children coming away with positive attitudes.
“This event was so successful that we’ve already had requests to hold a reunion later in the summer. We’re always looking for new ways to provide entertaining, meaningful education for our community so I can’t wait to see what we can come up with.”
For more information about the diabetes education offered at Southern Ohio Medical Center, please contact Ashley Salyers at 356-2720.