Aaron’s fun camp
Achieving a sense of normality during a fun-filled diabetes camp has raised the spirits of 10-year-old Aaron De Vent of Warragul.
Aaron never gets a break from his type one diabetes. He checks his blood glucose about four times a day but does not let this stop him enjoying bike riding, seeing friends and playing video games.
He recently returned in high spirits from Diabetes Victoria’s diabetes camp at the YMCA Anglesea, where diabetes was the norm and not a point of difference.
Aaron was diagnosed with type one diabetes in April 2012.
“This was the scariest moment in my life,” said his mum Krystal Gordon. “Aaron became so sick so quickly, and I was afraid I was going to lose my little boy. I knew very little about diabetes and was initially very overwhelmed with all that I had to learn.
“Aaron’s diagnosis changed our everyday life in a big way, as we now have to ensure his diet is carefully planned out for the whole day to suit his insulin dosages. Aaron is managing well and living life to the fullest with just a little extra planning and adjustments.”
Although the prevalence of type one diabetes is growing worldwide, it is still uncommon for children in Victoria to know other children with diabetes. That’s where Diabetes Victoria helps with its camps program.
Aaron spent five days with 50 peers at YMCA Anglesea over the school holidays. He enjoyed being part of a group where living with type one diabetes was “nothing special”, giving him a sense of normality when dealing with the chronic condition.
“I was very excited for Aaron to go to camp and meet other children his age who are going through what he is going through,” said Ms Gordon. “He loved being in an environment where diabetes comes second and having fun is the priority.”
At camp, children are fully supervised by a team of diabetes nurse educators, dietitians and an onsite doctor. A range of activities keeps the young people occupied including surfing lessons, canoeing, fishing, indoor climbing, visiting the Geelong Adventure Park, playing on a giant swing, as well as beach games and a Halloween-themed disco.
Diabetes Victoria organises six diabetes camps every year in partnership with the Royal Children’s and Monash Children’s hospitals, with funding support from the National Diabetes Services Scheme. Demand for camp places is always high, so some children have to wait or attend day activities instead.
“Around 2650 Victorian school aged children live with type one diabetes, one of the most common chronic childhood conditions, and this number is steadily growing for yet unknown reasons,” said Diabetes Victoria CEO Craig Bennett. “There is no cure for type one diabetes, and it cannot be prevented – unlike type two diabetes, which is often linked to lifestyle issues.”
Type one diabetes can occur at any age, although most cases develop amongst children, teenagers and young adults.
To help grow the camping program, consider making a tax-deductible donation at diabetesvic.org.au.
Aaron De Vent of Warragul was a happy camper during the five-day Diabetes Victoria camp in Anglesea. The 10-year-old loved being in an environment where living with type one diabetes was “nothing special” and having fun was the priority.