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Aug 2, 2012

Kids get Healthy Living tips at camp for diabetes

Belize Diabetes Association is establishing a registry of all children and youths afflicted with diabetes to determine how many are living with the condition. While it is not known how many youths have been affected, there are symptoms that parents and guardians can look out for including frequent urination. This week a group of more than thirty youths shared experiences on how to live with Type One diabetes. Healthy Living dropped by a camp organized by the Belize Diabetes Association.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It is estimated that thirteen percent of Belize’s population is living with diabetes. However, when it comes to the younger population there is very little known. This is why the Belize Diabetes Association, along with partners from Jamaica & St Lucia, have decided to focus on the management of diabetes in youth.

 

Anthony Castillo, President, Belize Diabetes Association

Anthony Castillo

“Presently in Belize, there are no known statistics no known records for children living with this condition. Also we are developing some protocols; some guidelines on how you treat children when they are going to the Health Care Facility and they are living with diabetes—there are certain protocols that need to be followed in treating children with this condition.”

 

Children are usually diagnoses as Type one diabetics which mean that little or no insulin is being produced in the body. The B.D.A. has been appealing to parents of juvenile diabetics to register their children with the association. Leolyn Stephen is one mom who is new to the organization.

 

Leolyn Stephen, Mother of Diabetic Child

“My son, Samuel, was diagnosed six months ago.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“How did you find out that he had diabetes?”

 

Leolyn Stephen

Leolyn Stephen

“Samuel was urinating more frequent than before, using the bathroom very often and he was thirsty and hungry in the night and I realized that something was wrong.”

 

Leolyn took her son Samuel for a checkup and his blood sugar tested at three hundred and thirty-seven. He had to be taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with diabetes.

 

Leolyn Stephen

“I was shocked, he didn’t show any sign or symptom but I’m glad that I did it at that time.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“How has Samuels life changed since then?”

 

Leolyn Stephen

“Well it has changed because he realizes that there are different stuffs that he cannot do and that makes him very upset. But right now he’s trying his best to cope with the situation.”

 

Frequent Urination is a common symptom of diabetes but it’s not always flagged as a major medical issue so some children are diagnosed when admitted for other emergencies. That was the case for juvenile diabetics: thirteen year old Daniel & fourteen year old Ragee.

 

Daniel Bernardez

Daniel Bernardez, 13 year old, Diabetic diagnosed for 4 years ago

“When I was at my father’s house I fell down and they took me to the hospital and that’s was how I was diagnosed with diabetes.”

 

Ragee Gillett, 14 year old,  Diabetic diagnosed 3 years ago

“One day I got up and I was feeling sick and my mother took me to the nurse, she took my blood sugar test and it was four hundred and add. She told me that I had diabetes and I had to be rushed to the emergency ward for I.V.”

 

Daniel Bernardez

“Well the doctor came up to me and said that you have diabetes.  I told them, what exactly that is because I had never heard about it before. They said that it’s a sickness that your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or none at all. I was really sad.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“What did that mean for you? How did it change your life?”

 

Daniel Bernardez

“It changed my whole lifestyle because I have to eat all categories of food. I didn’t like vegetables but now I’m coping with it.”

 

Ragee Gillett

Ragee Gillett

“When I go to school she doesn’t give me as much money, she only give me money fi buy water.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“But you noh get tempted when you see other people eating it?”

 

Ragee Gillett

“Yes ma’am, I still eat it sometime.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“And what does that do to you?”

 

Ragee Gillett

“Ker up my sugar.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“And how does that make you feel?”

 

Ragee Gillett

“Bad.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“So that mek you no wah do it again?”

 

Ragee Gillett

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Samuel, Daniel and Ragee are all participants at the B.D.A.’s summer camp. They are learning important skills for their condition and have the opportunity to meet with others who share similar challenges.

 

Ragee Gillett

“Ih mek I feel good because I mi think dah only mi got sugar. But when I come here I get fi see how other people got sugar.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“They go through the same thing you goh through?”

 

Ragee Gillett

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“You noh get tempted sometimes?”

 

Daniel Bernardez

“Well, now and again I sneak behind my mother’s back.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“And what happens when you do that?”

 

Daniel Bernardez

“Well nothing really happens, but I know my sugar goes high. I learn from it because I know that I am damaging my insides so I quit it.”

 

Leolyn Stephen

“The hardest part is the eating of the food. He’s not like his friends; he’s not normal like his friends because the things they would be able to do he won’t be able to do.”

 

John Hoy was diagnosed at five. Fifteen years later he can relate to the experience of the younger children.

 

John Hoy, Diabetic

John Hoy

“My advice to them is once they live right, eat right, exercise right; they can do anything just like a normal person—once again in moderation. Someone who’s diabetic; not because they are diabetic they cannot eat cake or ice cream. The can eat anything just in moderation—they can’t eat the whole cake, but have a little slice and then exercise and keep healthy.”

 

As a musician, John is very active in the social scene. He says, it’s no challenge for him to maintain his disciplined lifestyle.

 

John Hoy

“All my friends, well you know they drink, they party, but I know my limits, I know what to  take, what not to take how to manage myself. I usually become the designated driver usually, I am tempted sometimes to do things like that but everything in moderation can’t have everything at once.  When I was much younger, to be honest, I never use to tell anybody I was diabetic, eventually I found out that I have to let my friends and family around me know that I am diabetic so if anything goes wrong, I go unconscious they don’t know what’s wrong with me later on they’ll find out that I was diabetic. So that barrier the kids that they learn that they have to accept that, that they are diabetic and accepting that they know how to help themselves in the future.”

 

Currently, there are only thirty-four children on the registry. The B.D.A. continues to plea with parents and guardians to register their children.

 

Anthony Castillo

“I’m certain that there may be others out there who are living with the condition but they haven’t come forward so I am appealing to the parent to the guardian, to come and get registered and there are benefits. All children receive a monitor and free strips.”

 

John Hoy

“Me being diabetic for fifteen years; I’ve learned a lot in my life so far. I think the parents should come out, should register. There’s a lot of benefits in this association—a lot of things that could help the kids and the parents when it comes to experience.”

 

Daniel Bernardez

“Once you are living with diabetes all you have to do is cope and have patience with the condition.”

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2 Responses for “Kids get Healthy Living tips at camp for diabetes”

  1. belizean says:

    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 4 years ago and my doctor told me everything that could go wrong if you don’t take care of yourself. I agree with John Hoy moderation is the key and eat a lot of vegetables (greens) brocolli, lettuce etc. I lost my mum to this dreadful disease 31years ago, back then they did not have the medication/treatments like we now have. In Belize its best to walk to where you want to go as the places are close to each other. eg, walk to school, the grocery store etc. that is a way to excersice.

  2. Living Healthy with Diabetes says:

    Extremely informative. I wanted to thank you for this excellent post. I surely enjoyed each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out more new stuff you post in the future.

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