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Event planned for youth with diabetes

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:49 -- Karen Minty
woman injecting herself

On Sunday, March 17th, the non-profit organization, I Challenge Diabetes is hosting a sports and dance camp for youth aged 5-15 years old. The organization aims to help support and empower youth living with Type 1 Diabetes and their families.

The one-day event starts at 9am and runs until 3pm with a sports-filled morning, a lunch, and an afternoon drama and dance workshop. Parents, siblings, and friends are welcome to attend.

After her daughter, Kyra, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) in 2018, Tana Manchester realized that managing the disease was quite a bit more complicated than she expected. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder which causes the pancreas to no longer work. It is not caused by poor diet. Weight, diet and exercise alone can not prevent it, nor manage it. It can only be treated by insulin injections.

“You have to constantly count carbs, measure food, test blood and take insulin injections,” explains Tana. “If she gets full half way through a meal, she still has to make-up those carbs from somewhere so her blood sugar will remain stable. There’s a lot of planning involved. It’s 24/7 and you never get a break from it.”

The family is constantly learning. “It’s not just food that affects blood sugar levels. It’s hormones, exercise, heat, activities, and even your mood can affect it. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I recognized that we needed some support to successfully manage it, and Kyra needed to know that she wasn’t alone, that she wasn’t the only kid with Diabetes.” Through the Bluewater Health Diabetes Clinic, Tana met Cindy Batchelar and her son. Seth and Kyra became instant friends and the two mothers reached out to the founder of I Challenge Diabetes to bring their support and empowerment camp to Sarnia.

I Challenge Diabetes was founded in 2011 by former Olympic rower Chris Jarvis, who struggled with managing his own T1D as an athlete. He started the charity to share his knowledge and help support others. Through experiential education and adventure, the organization offers community events and camps for youth and their families to empower them with the skills and confidence to not only overcome the daily challenges of living with the disease, but to create a new expectation for what they can accomplish.

The event on March 17th takes place at Alexander McKenzie high school from 9am – 3pm. The cost is $10 per family. There will also be a Parent Workshop in the morning focused on navigating Diabetes in the school system. They help parents create and implement a plan for their child’s school which includes educating the teachers and staff to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to respond, as well as having emergency juice and snacks on hand.

For more information about the local chapter and event, please visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ichallengediabetessarnia/ or email ichallengediabetessarnia@gmail.com. To register for the event, please go to the I Challenge Diabetes website at https://ichallengediabetes.org/register-for-events/

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