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Aug 15, 2011

Camp for Youths with diabetes

According to World Health Organization statistics, about three hundred and forty six million people worldwide are living with diabetes. In 2004, over three million people died from complications related to high blood sugar.  And that is why the Belize Diabetes Association has embarked on a special session to educate those who have lived with diabetes all their lives. News Five’s Jose Sanchez report.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Today is the start of a summer camp unlike others. It’s a diabetes summer camp that targets youths who have been born with the condition.

Anthony Castillo, President Belize Diabetes Association

Anthony Castillo

“We at the Belize Diabetes Association have observed that a lot have been done and said about older persons living with diabetes. But we’ve also observed that a lot of children and young adults are also a part in the condition diabetes. Hence the reason we embark on this camp where we want to empower and educate children living with diabetes. The age range of these kids is zero to twenty-four at this time. The younger children brought a guardian, but the older ones are here by themselves. The main idea is of children and young adults to learn to cope with diabetes. At this time, young adults and children who are living with diabetes are born with this condition. If you are born with this condition at this time, there is no cure for diabetes and it’s a lifelong process—you will be living with diabetes for the rest of your life. So it is very important for you to learn how to live with the condition. The complication for diabetes are many and if you don’t take hold of it from a early age, you will not even reach adulthood.”

Children of all ages sit and learn about a healthy lifestyle. Even the youngest must also have their blood sugar level checked.

Shana Waight

Shana Waight, Diabetes Camp Participant

“At times it’s difficult. Being a teenager it can be difficult: you want to do the same things your friends are doing—eat the same things they are eating—but you can manage it. I manage it as best as I can.”

Jose Sanchez

“At this particular camp, what are they showing you that you must also do to practice in your lifestyle?”

Shana Waight

“They are showing us basic things like how to eat, proper foods to eat, proper weight testing and just interacting with each other and getting to know each other so far.”

Jose Sanchez

“And even though with your friends, you are watching your diet, it’s safe to say the way they eat isn’t the best?”

Shana Waight

“Well no, but still you know they might not be eating well. You want to eat the same way they are, so it’s great to be here to learn the proper things to eat.”

Twelve year old Daniel Bernardez is making the most of the opportunities provided at the camp.

Daniel Bernardez

Daniel Bernardez, Diabetes Camp Participant

“It is hard because sometimes you would see your friends eating sweets and you would want some. My friends sometimes help me because when they are around, they don’t eat sweets; they eat what I eat.”

Jose Sanchez

“And the camp itself, what are you learning here at this camp?”

Daniel Bernardez

“Self monitoring and they will teach us a lot of things. I don’t know what yet, but I am expecting to learn more than I already know. So it is good to be part of the association.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you recommend other youths to be part of the association?”

Daniel Bernardez

“Yes sir.”

Shana Waight

“I think for people out there who have diabetes, it’s good to join this association because they do help you with your strips and your medication—anything you need help in they help you. So it’s good because in Belize it’s kinda hard to afford the strips and insulin and needles and stuff like that. So it’s good.”

Jose Sanchez

“How long is this camp and can other youths come and join after today?”

Anthony Castillo

“Today is day one. The camp lasts until Friday. We are catering for forty children. There are a little under forty—there are still space for a few. So if there are any persons out there who want to join the camp can come in today, Monday, and perhaps tomorrow, Tuesday. So we are asking if you are interested, to come and learn about the condition.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Jose Sanchez.

According to Castillo, diabetics should maintain a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle, and also adhere to their medication regime.

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