Camp the right type for fun: children with type 1 diabetes

Summer Bettencourt and Ivana Kursar had a great time at camp.
Summer Bettencourt and Ivana Kursar had a great time at camp.

GROWING up with an autoimmune condition is not easy, but as two local 10 year olds recently found out, it is not something they have to do alone.

Summer Bettencourt (Baldivis) and Ivana Kursar (Waikiki) both have type 1 diabetes, and they joined 28 other children with the same condition last week for a Wild West-themed camp at Woodman Point Recreation Camp.

It offered the pair the chance to meet other children their age who also have the same condition, and gain confidence in their diabetes management.

“When you are diagnosed with diabetes you have no clue what it is and you don’t know how to handle it. It’s really scary,” Summer said, who was diagnosed at age six.

“So it’s really cool to come to camp where I can make friends who are just like me.”

The active camp encouraged the children to work as a team in activities such as soccer, frisbee and beach Olympics, while managing their diabetes.

Those with type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor their blood glucose levels, count carbohydrates in each meal and take multiple insulin injections every day to survive.

Ivana, who was just two when diagnosed, said she especially loved the sports that let her run around, but also enjoyed painting.

“It’s really good for the children to have an environment where they can relax and feel safe,” Diabetes WA community relations co-ordinator and camp volunteer Jarnia Davies said.

“The camp’s key values are respect, responsibility and teamwork. The kids are encouraged to look out for each other.”

The camp was run by Diabetes WA and Princess Margaret Hospital, with activities hosted by Sports Challenge Australia.