When I was six years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which drastically changed my life. My lifestyle went from eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, to eating a specific amount of carbohydrates every three hours. Although this was a very difficult adjustment, I am blessed with an extremely supportive and loving family. They helped me count all my carbohydrates, test my blood sugar, and gave me shots three times a day. However, I felt like something was missing. I didn’t know anyone else who had type 1 diabetes. There were times when I felt like an outcast. Other kids just didn’t understand why I couldn’t share my snacks with them, or why I had to sit out of gym class when I was feeling “low”.
When I was nine years old, I was told about a week long camp for diabetic children. I was excited to sign up. I had never been away from my parents for more than a night, and for the first time, we didn’t have to explain to anyone what to do if I go “low” or how to handle a high blood sugar. I think that was scary for both my parents and me. Although I was nervous, I fit right in at camp. We all had one thing in common: diabetes. I had never experienced friendships form so quickly. It was nice not having to explain to anyone why I had to eat a snack or that they would not “catch” my diabetes. Camp was not just about diabetes, it was about having fun and being a kid. I fell in love with camp and went back every year.
When I was sixteen years old, I had the chance to become a junior counselor. I was nervous I would not love it as much as I loved being a camper. Turns out, I loved it even more. I have camp to thank for my positive outlook on life. It showed me that something good can come of any situation. Now, as a counselor, it’s my job to instill this positive attitude in my campers. I adore giving these kids a week where they can have no worries, and just be a kid.