content DiabetesCampThanks to Diabetes camps, kids and teens diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are learning about self-care and community while having loads of action-packed fun.

For children and teens diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, life is never the same again. With a demanding daily treatment regime, many children and their families are left feeling overwhelmed and that’s where Children’s Diabetes Camps fulfil an important role. 

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One of the most prevalent diseases in South Africa, Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the pancreas cells that produce insulin are destroyed by the body’s own immune system.  

Organised by Diabetes SA, the camp brings teens and children together to teach them how to manage the condition and create a sense of solidarity

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening condition where to function normally, a child with Type 1 diabetes is subjected every single day to a minimum of 3 to 5 insulin injections, 6 finger-pricking blood glucose tests and a rigidly-controlled diet. The daily demands of managing an ailment like diabetes can overwhelm children who are still developing, and leave them feeling alone.  

Run in association with the Diabetic Clinics of the Tygerberg, Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s hospitals, Diabetes SA used its MySchool funds to bring 50 children and 20 nurses and leaders to enjoy an action-packed three day camp that combined vital education with fun and comradeship.

Through the camps, they realise they’re not alone in their suffering and feel supported. By learning how to self-manage their treatment, they start to feel empowered to deal with the socio-emotional challenges and lead a healthy life despite the enormity of their diagnosis.

Although camp fees are kept as low as possible, many of the young sufferers in the Western Cape come from under-privileged communities. With no government funding, Diabetes SA relies on donors to hold Children’s Diabetes Camps on an ongoing basis. Research has shown that the camps help limit the burden of diabetes on the country; Hospital admissions are reduced after camps; and parents and children’s doctors report that children are more motivated to play their part in managing the condition.