Summer camp empowers children with diabetes
Camp Independence combines fun with education
SAN ANTONIO - A special summer camp for kids is combining fun and games with education about diabetes.
Camp Independence is taking place this week at St. Mary's Hall.
The camp gives kids with diabetes a chance to enjoy the fun of summer camp with others who understand their disease.
Shane Blozis was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. He's been attending Camp Independence for years and is now training to be a counselor.
"I play soccer, I run around with my friends here," said Blozis. "Just playing around and having fun and keeping your sugars in check."
Camp Independence was created 27 years ago specifically for children with Type 1 diabetes.
However, there are some children with Type 2 diabetes that attend. Siblings of children with diabetes are also encouraged to attend.
The nonprofit is run by volunteers, including trained medical staff.
Dr. Jane Lynch, a professor of pediatrics, is one of the many volunteers who helps monitor blood sugar levels.
"This is a week where they can come and they can play and they can relax and they can know that somebody's helping check their blood sugar," said Lynch.
At camp, kids do arts and crafts and play games while learning how to deal with their disease.
"Anything that's educational is done in the form of a game and the kids really just have fun being together," said Lynch.
The camp also gives kids with diabetes and their family members a chance to bond with others who understand what they're going through.
"I'm more comfortable around people checking their blood sugar and I'm not the only one who has to check my blood sugar all the time," said Chloe Christiansen, an 11-year-old camper.
Every year, the camp is given a theme.
This year, it's Super Heroes.
At the same time, they're learning how they, too, can be super.
"This gives them the confidence that there's not much they can't do as long as they're taking care of themselves," said Lynch.
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