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Jul 31, 2014

Healthy Living Heads to Diabetes Camp…

Countrywide, there are many camps being hosted for children to occupy them during their summer break. It’s a win-win situation for parents and children as parents get to keep the children engaged and children get to catch up on academic, sports and artistic expressions. There is one camp that is being hosted by the Belize Diabetes Association that is specifically tailored for children living with diabetes. Today, we stopped in at the ITVET to find out how the camp is going.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
For the over forty children gathered at the ITVET, the past five days have been packed with activities and educational sessions. Children as young as six, to young adults in their early twenties, are learning skills that as juvenile diabetics can literally save their lives.

Dr. Eric Bradley, Internist/Diabetologist

Eric Bradley

“It is very important that they manage at a young age, how to manage their diabetes, because what we were talking about today is how that prevents complications later in life. So the purpose is to educate them so they can learn to live healthy.  I did a presentation today to the campers and the camp has been teaching them a lot. Several questions I asked them, they know very well; they know a lot about the disease and about the complications of the disease and also how to live a healthy life as a type one diabetic patient.  The most interesting question they asked today was what to do when their sugar levels get too high or too low. So they are very concerned about how to manage their diabetes and are really concerned how to use the insulin.”


Rhea Young

The children gathered have bonded over their similar lifestyles, testing together & showing off glucose readings and helping out if someone’s reading is too high. The camp organizers made sure to include some arts and crafts for the children to express themselves – one central theme that arose is discrimination.


Rhea Young, 15, Juvenile Diabetic


Marleni Cuellar

“People ever treat you different because you have diabetes?”


Jerrylyn Flores, 15, Juvenile Diabetic

Jerrylyn Flores

“At school, sometimes they tease me, but I noh worry bout it.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Weh they tease you?”


Jerrylyn Flores
“They call me “sugah,” all kinda names.”


Deandre Dawson

Deandre Dawson, 12, Juvenile Diabetic
“Children at school call me “sugah belly,” that’s my nickname at school. Some of them tease and some just call me for my nickname.”


Jerrylyn Flores
“Other people without the sickness, shouldn’t discriminate those who have the sickness because like what the poem says all of us have an education. The only difference is because we as diabetics have to take the injection with insulin to let our body goh the normal way so that the insulin lower the glucose in our body.”


Deandre Dawson
“I am still the same, only that I have to take injection and portion my meals and soh.”


The children have also been able to hear about diabetes and oral health, Diabetes and eye health, diabetes and depression, dating and drug use and of course nutrition.


Rachel Peters

Rachel Peters, 6, Juvenile Diabetic
“I learn about vegetables and cucumbers. I like eat mash potatoes with cucumber.”


Deandre Dawson

“The most important thing about a balanced meal is getting healthy; exercise when your sugar is high or sometimes it goes high and you exercise.”


Dr. Eric Bradley
“The kids need to learn how to eat healthy, the proper diet; they also need to learn about physical activity. Sometimes it’s not just about them; we need the entire family to help them to live their diabetes. For example when it comes to proper diets, we just don’t want that in the household, the kids are the only ones that have to be eating healthy, while their brothers and sisters and parents are eating anything they want. We want the parents and the entire support system to understand that if your child has to eat healthy, you have to eat healthy too. You have to support him/her in their lifestyle changes when it comes to diet and exercise.”


…which is why the camp is open to parents and family members as well. Lianne Awe is attending the camp for a second year along with her six year old son Adon.


Lianne Awe, Mother of Juvenile Diabetic

Lianne Awe

“I enjoy coming to the camp because it is so informative. It is just something that you can never learn too much. And we always want to find out new ways how we can better it because it is the quality of life to preserve his life. if we are not proactive and we are not meticulous with the things that we need to do, his lifespan can be shortened and we certainly don’t want that. My biggest fear is going to his bedside in the morning and not finding him awake. My grandmother passed from low sugar and that’s my worst fear. I check his sugar during the night and many times I have to wake him to drink some juice because it is dangerously low. So that is definitely something that I don’t want to lose sight of and that’s my biggest fear. But I am also grateful for the teamwork that we have as a family because one day his sugar went so low that he passed out and my daughter was the one that found him. So if she wasn’t aware of what to do and reading certain signs, anyone could have assumed that he was just sleeping. So I am just glad that together we have this common goal and we are working towards it and have each other’s back.”


The challenges faced by juvenile diabetics are real. Since their bodies are incapable of producing insulin, the children must learn from a very early age to test and understand the seriousness of very high or very low sugar readings.


Rachel Peters
“You take the gun and you put in a needle; put in the strips ina the thing weh could make noise and you just put it on the thing and then it say the reading.”


Jerrylyn Flores
“If it too, too high, I have to report it to the counselor. And then the counselor wah call the ambulance so that they could come pick yo up from school or once it deh dah three hundred soh, then yo have to take the insulin.”


Lianne Awe
“There are times when he gets frustrated and he’s like I’m not doing it anymore. I am not checking my sugar anymore, I will throw away the machine and I could understand. As a human, we do get frustrated and we are driven sometimes to a point that this is too much. So it is very good for him to see that he is not alone; that he is not the only one that has to deal with these challenges.”


This is one of the primary objectives of the camp organized by the Belize Diabetes Association each year.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living Heads to Diabetes Camp…”

  1. Iman says:

    Good charity for supporting children who are with diabetes.

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