KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The Tri-Cities' first diabetes day camp is underway this week. Kennewick General Hospital's Diabetes Education Program organized three days of fun-filled events for kids to take their minds off their disease.
Monday, twenty-three young day campers, ages seven to fourteen, went to the Tri-City Court Club to play tennis, climb a rock wall, and find new friendships with other diabetic kids just like them.
Letting kids be kids, that's the number one goal of this week's diabetes day camp put together by Kennewick General Hospital. Organizers, like Jenn Helms, want the kids to have fun and learn they're not alone in dealing with diabetes at a young age.
"They're having a blast and that's our bottom line. Fun first and a little education will help and it's secondary. Bottom line is they're having a good time and developing relationships and hopefully those relationships will continue from here on out," says Helms.
Kids are responding to the program very positively. Day camper Eden Foster says she's finally finding kids just like her.
"It's been a great time hanging out with diabetics because I never knew that there's so many diabetics around my age," says Foster.
All the campers have type one diabetes. It's an auto-immune disease that attacks their body's insulin. It's typically diagnosed at a young age.
"In Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco we have over 100 kids with type one diabetes and we felt that it was a strong need that we had a support system," says Helms.
The camp hopes kids will learn that what makes them different doesn't have to isolate them or define who they are.
"We try to teach them that they're no different and that there's just a little more of a challenge for them because they have to think about it a little bit more. But just that they can give them the insulin they need from the foods they enjoy eating," says Helms.
The first day was a big success because campers got the message organizers were hoping for. You're not alone.
"I'm just really happy that there's more people around here that are just like me," says Foster.