WINFIELD — Parents with a child who has Type 1 diabetes sometimes find it difficult to let go of the important responsibility to constantly check insulin levels.
Just ask Doreen Giordani, of Sunbury.
Her daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed at age 7.
“For a new parent, it’s a lot to take in, a lot to learn,” she said.
If low blood sugar goes untreated, it can lead to disorientation, seizures and even coma.
But there is hope.
For the last five years, Lauren, now 14, has been attending Setebaid Services camp for kids ages 8 to 18 who have Type 1 diabetes. This has helped her learn to control her condition and take better care of herself.
“We learn about diabetes in our cabin and get a carb sheet,” so they know how much insulin to take, said Lauren.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels.
By the time Lauren started attending camp, she already had diabetes for a couple years, “but mom still helped.”
And going to the camp gave mom the piece of mind she needed to relinquish these responsibilities to her daughter.
“Kids tend to forget to test,” said Doreen, who heard about the program from another parent at Lauren’s school. “This way, everybody does it at the same time.”
Setebaid Services camps are a good way to help children with diabetes become more independent.
“From my experience, most parents say they would not let their kids go to another camp. At least to start,” said Mark Moyer, executive director of Setebaid Services, a Winfield-based organization that runs three week-long camp programs including the Harrisburg Diabetes Youth Camp and Camp Setebaid at Camp Victory in Millville and Camp Setebaid at Camp Swantra in Bethel, as well as a weekend program for families, in Danville.
Camp Setebaid offers activities that any other camp would offer such as rock climbing, swimming and canoeing.
Lauren’s favorites are archery, creek stomping and arts and crafts.
“The thing to remember is that it’s a normal camp, but everyone just happens to have diabetes,” said Moyer.
Its goal is to educate the campers, the counselors and community members.