Summer is the time when kids attend camps and such, but there was a special all-day camp held for kids who have Type I Diabetes this summer.
This camp was started to raise awareness of Type I and to give those kids a special day to be like everyone else, just for a day.
Malissa Sarver who is coordinator and/or executive director of the Ohio River Valley T1D group, said they held the Type I Diabetes Camp at Shawnee Lodge recently. This is a Type I Diabetes camp held by this 501c3 non-profit. “McKenzie Brown started the camp, when she was running for Miss River Days and continued it last year, however, now that she is in college, our support group are taking that over and we were able to accomplish this,through some grants I wrote,” said Sarver. We received grant funding from Scioto Foundation, Beyond Type I, JDRF, Walmart, and PALS. The ladies from PALS(Portsmouth Area Ladies) supplied the money for The Happy Pot to come out and do a craft. The kids made a plate similar to the my plate. Sarver, who is a registered dietitian, along with Heather Hardyman and Stephanie Clevenger, students who are finishing school to become dietitians, and Mallory Mount also a dietitian helped at the camp.”
“Our support group this November will make three years we have been a group and we are a non-profit,” Sarver said. “We were able to get the word out about our events, by sending our contacts, emails and texts reminders, JDRF helps me get the word out, Nationwide Children’s helps us get in contact with newly diagnosed Type I Diabetics, and there were two diagnosed recently, that attended the camp.”
The camp was held at Shawnee Lodge this year for the first time. “They are real hospitable out there and they have beautiful surroundings. We had several kids and families, who were from out of town and that had never been in our area, and it was nice for them to come and especially to see how nice our area is,” Sarver said. “The camp was just for kids 18 and under, however Type I Diabetes can be diagnosed at any age, one of the common misconceptions is that it is a kids’ disease. They don’t grow out of it and it can be diagnosed at an older age. Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed when she was in her 30’s and it has been diagnosed, when one is in their 40’s.”
This camp was an all day camp. Registration was from 8:30 to 9:00 am. and it lasted until 5:00pm. Sarver added, “The other thing with having adults that have Type I Diabetes, we had adults there who were volunteers. Mount is a dietitian and professor at Marshall University and she runs the camp in West Virginia, she was there volunteering and she has Type I along with Dawn Marie, a nurse was from Nationwide Children’s, and Molly Davis from the Portsmouth City Health Department, so we had several people who had Type I there to help.”
There were Diabetes Alert Dogs present at the camp. “We have two families that have these, Skittles and Sam. The one speaker Dalton, a young man who is a competitive runner and his dog is Sam,” Sarver said. “…Sam is able to alert for low and high blood sugars, and Dalton talked about the training and donations that are used to purchase the dogs, because these dogs cost about $25,000. Skittles was there with another one of our campers. When the dogs have their vests on, you don’t pet them, because they are working, but when they have their vests off, then they can be petted.”
There were nearly 30 kids attending the camp. Sarver added, “We did the pottery class, we had the Diabetes Alert Dogs, we made a first aid kit, we had a nurse practitioner talk about rotations like with your pumps and such equipment, and a social worker that talked about the emotions that come with having Type I,” Sarver said. “We also had the two horses for the kids and we rotated them out for the kids to ride. Jenny Richards, the Naturalist, brought some snakes for the kids to see. They were a big hit.” The kids even got to go swimming at the pool. Sarver mentioned that according to the type of equipment you use, they are unhooked if need be, or some are waterproof, different kids have different ones, but all can go swimming.
Sarver said the day as a whole, was a success, but she was a bit nervous at first, being they had the camp at a different location this year. She stated they had 20 volunteers and that she needed every one of them to make the camp successful. They also have officers at the Ohio River Valley T1D, Kim Brown, Teresa Powell, Steve Sarver (her husband), and Tracie Lewis. Those people help tremendously with making things happen, according to Sarver.
The group has a Facebook page: OhioRiverValley T1D, if anyone wants information about them. Their next event is going to be Sept. 8th, from 4 to 7 pm. They will be at Noble Family Farms in Minford, it is their T1D family fun day, it is free and it’s reserved only for families that have someone in their family, who has Type I Diabetes. “We have food and share stories and just have a good time,” said Sarver.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928