MEDIA RELEASES

Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles Camp An 'Amazing' Experience

Nineteen young Northlanders, some with Type 1 diabetes, enjoyed three nights and four days at the annual Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles camp last month at the Manaia Baptist Camp in Taurikura Bay.

These camps have been run nationally by specialist diabetes services attached to district health boards and were previously provided in Northland for a number of years. However, following a change in funding, Diabetes NZ Northland Branch and Northland DHB Diabetes Service had to find new options to fund the camps, including the annual Diabetes Fun Run & Walk last November.

This is the second year the camps have been run in Northland on the new funding basis.

They help the children and young people develop resilience, develop relationships with those facing similar health journeys, improve their social skills, increase confidence and gain a feeling of control.

Along with a major commitment from Northland DHB diabetes and healthy lifestyles staff and dietitians, former professional cyclist Aaron Perry visited the camp to share insights and inspire the children. “Hopefully in the years to come, I will be reading their names and their achievements in the news,” he said.

“I have been to a couple of these camps now and have seen the way they bond.”

Sport Northland staff were also at the camp, hosting activities that helped the children learn how to work as a team.

Northland DHB dietitian Mary McNab commented: “What the kids get out of this is amazing. Some of them come here not doing their own testing and finger-pricks, and are doing it by the time they leave just a few days later. Some of them are also using insulin pumps.”

Healthy Lifestyles registered nurse Louise Kini highlighted the learning from peers. “It’s all very well medical people telling them what’s right and what’s not but in a very relaxed environment like this, they can visually see how kids react and at different levels.”

Diabetes nurse specialist Eve de Goey pointed out that for some of the children, the camp is the first time they’ve met another child with Type 1 diabetes.

For nine-year-old Adrian, who has been on one of the camps before, the best parts of the camp were the beach, making new friends and making it easier to manage his diabetes.

Twelve-year-old Lachlan – there for the first time – was “trying to get some sleep” amid the fun and had also made lots of new friends.

Former professional cyclist Aaron Perry with the crew from Sport Northland and the nineteen children who were at camp. Photo credit: Liz Inch



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