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Jul 24, 2018

Diabetes Camp for the Kids!

For the remainder of the week, about thirty-two diabetic patients from several districts will be participating in a camp. The camp is being facilitated by the Belize Diabetes Association with the aim to empower and educate diabetic youths on managing their condition. Today, News Five’s Hipolito Novelo stopped by and found out how day two of the camp went.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be one of the most horrifying news one can receive. It was for eighteen-year-old Nairobi Kenya Cortez.

 

Nairobi Cortez, Diagnosed with Diabetes

Nairobi Kenya Cortez

“I was in standard three when I found out that I was diagnosed with this condition. It was a very sad moment to me because I was not aware of what it was or what this disease or condition was all about. I was afraid like, okay, will I die? Will I survive and how would I cope with this condition? For me, it was bad at first but after a while you get to know more and you will at least get some relief although it is a serious condition.”

 

Cortez has been living with Type One or juvenile diabetes for eight years. It was during those eight years that Cortez had to adjust to living with diabetes. She has experienced seizures caused by hypoglycemia or low blood pressure. There are many young men and women like Cortez and some of them are gathering in Belize City for a one-week camp organized by the Belize Diabetes Association. The camp is being held under the theme “Empowering and Educating Youths on Managing Diabetes”.

 

Sharlene Jones

Sharlene Jones, Secretary, Belize Diabetes Association

“Basically they need to learn healthy eating, that is our number one – healthy eating.  They need to eat their daily fruits, vegetables, drink enough water every day and take their insulin. Living with type one diabetes they take their insulin twice a day and they also learn how to take their insulin. Because they will live with this for the rest of their lives, they really need to learn how to cope with it on a daily basis.”

 

Thirty-two diabetic patients from different areas of the country are participating in the camp. These patients experience their own unique challenges, but common to most is access to medication.

 

Sharlene Jones

“We have kids who don’t have the proper financing to buy their insulin everyday because it is expensive. So, what we do at the association, we provide them with the insulin. When we don’t have it then they need to purchase it. We have a programme name ‘ Insulin for Life’ where we get donations from international companies that they donate the insulin to them. You know shipping takes some time and so when we don’t have it they purchase it but most of the time we have it to provide to them.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“How important is it for these kids to have support – their families, their best friends or brother and sisters beside them to support?”

 

Sharlene Jones

“It is very important because without that support then most of the time they end up eating things that they are not suppose to eat on a daily basis and that is the thing that always the sugar goes high and they are hospitalized. So, they need that support and with the association, parents, friends, co-workers, schools, we ask them to give them that support .”

 

And that support goes a long way, especially during diagnosis. For Cortez, living with diabetes has become a norm and it can be for all diabetic patients.

 

Nairobi Kenya Cortez

“Do not panic. Do not say it is the end of your life. Don’t say that I can’t have junk food; I can’t do this and that. That will be the first thing that comes to your mind. I think it comes to every single one of us. But I would say never panic when you hear that you have diabetes. Just stay calm and you will find that you can still live a happy and normal life whatever you choose to do; travel; do whatever you want. Just know your limits and you will be perfectly fine.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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