Point Walter camp provides help for children with diabetes

Eleven-year-olds Marnie Griffiths and Jaemon Yam check out the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with rescue swimmer Nick Wagstaff.
Eleven-year-olds Marnie Griffiths and Jaemon Yam check out the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with rescue swimmer Nick Wagstaff.

IT is not easy living with type 1 diabetes, especially for young children, and so a four-day camp at Point Walter Recreation Centre was a welcome escape for close to 40 children coming to grips with the genetic condition.

The camp is organised by Diabetes WA and Princess Margaret Hospital and brings together children aged 11 or 12 from across WA to build their confidence levels and teach them coping mechanisms.

Clinical nurse and diabetes educator Daina Coenen said many of the children had never had the opportunity to mix with other people who had the condition.

“Those that live in rural or remote areas have often never met someone else with type 1 diabetes, so it’s a really great opportunity for them to realise that they’re not alone,” Miss Coenen said.

“The kids spend some time with one of our dieticians learning about healthy eating habits as well as with a mental health team learning about mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

“It can be very isolating and sometimes daunting to live with a chronic condition, so it’s helpful to have a discussion about some techniques you can implement to help out.”

While educational, the camp also has a heavy focus on fun, with the children taking part in a wide range of activities over the four days.

“They’ve done a high ropes climb, the flying fox, taking part in an Amazing Race type activity and we’ve also been down to the beach to do some kayaking,” Miss Coenen said.

The camp was highlighted by a rock stars-themed disco night, as well as a visit from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

In WA alone, nearly 1500 people under the age of 19 are living with diabetes, most of whom have type 1.

Type 1 diabetes is a non-preventable, non-curable genetic condition that causes the immune system to destroy the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

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