Islanders rally to establish new diabetes camp on P.E.I.
'We are thrilled that children living with Type 1 diabetes will have the chance to go to camp here'
Camp is back on.
Since it was announced that Diabetes Canada was closing the children's camps in P.E.I. and New Brunswick, a group of Islanders has rallied together and set up some funds to establish a new camp for young diabetics in the province.
The campaign to establish the camp took a life of its own after families, camp counsellors, medical experts and corporate sponsors all mobilized to create a new camp for the kids, said Patti Devine, co-chair of the camp's fundraising committee and parent of a former camper.
He would come back from camp a happy, confident young boy and it really made a huge difference.— Patti Devine
"We really felt strongly, all these different groups together, ... that we needed to find a solution here on Prince Edward Island and we took it upon ourselves to make that happen," she said.
"We have more fundraising to do but we are thrilled that children living with Type 1 diabetes will have the chance to go to camp here this summer on the Island."
Diabetes Canada announced in January that it was closing Camp Red Fox in Canoe Cove, P.E.I., and Camp Dia-Best at Green Hill Lake, N.B. The one in Barss Corner, N.S, would remain open.
The national charity called the move a merger and that it would "maximize the efficiency" of the camps.
Parents and children on P.E.I. were crushed that Camp Red Fox was no more.
However, it didn't take long for groups to gather and build up the support for a new camp on the Island.
Two corporate sponsors donated $5,000 each, Devine said, and Camp Triumph, near Malpeque, agreed to host a new diabetes camp.
She said camp is "an amazing experience" for the children and it's important to have it available on P.E.I. to keep children closer to home and because of the toll the disease has on children.
"It's overwhelming when a child is diagnosed with diabetes," she said.
"Overnight they go from being a happy, carefree child to now having a huge responsibility that they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives."
She said camp gives children with diabetes a chance to "experience life the way everyone else does" in a safe environment.
The camp made a tremendous change in her son's life after he was diagnosed.
"He would come back from camp a happy, confident young boy and it really made a huge difference to see that there were role models there and it is possible to live with Type 1 diabetes," she said.
"It just made all the difference."
Devine said there's still more funding to do as it costs a lot of money to send children to camps, particularly with specific dietary needs, medical teams, test strips, insulin and more.
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With files from Katerina Georgieva