With the Y’s help, Bianca got to enjoy summer camp just like other kids!
Lilly DeJesus and her husband Felix want their daughter Bianca to have the same experiences as every other child, but they struggle with a big concern – Bianca has type 1 diabetes. Bianca is seven years old and was diagnosed with the disease when she was five.
It is a little easier for an adult to manage diabetes and recognize warning signs than it is for a young child. Because of this, managing Bianca’s diabetes is a 24-hour job for Lilly and Felix. They have kept a very close watch on Bianca, and she only spent time with family members if they needed to be away.
Bianca had attended preschool, but Lilly and Felix needed to go to the school every day to administer her insulin shots. As last summer rolled around, Lilly did not want Bianca to sit at home all day with her and miss out on all the fun activities other kids enjoyed at summer camp. But, finding a summer camp that would check Bianca’s sugar levels and administer insulin was a challenge, and it would be very difficult for her to make the multiple trips needed each day to do this herself.
She found her solution at the Lamenter-Strasburg YMCA (L-S Y) summer camp where she met Camp Coordinator Chelsea Edwards. Chelsea and her camp staff were willing to do what it took to ensure Bianca could spend her summer at camp just like other kids. Lilly and Felix trained Chelsea and L-S Y Branch Director Alicia Campbell on how to give Bianca her insulin shots. The Y camp staff also learned how to monitor her sugar levels throughout the day and everyone worked together on a plan for monitoring Bianca and providing ongoing updates to Lilly each day to ensure Bianca was on track and doing well.
“It was such a relief for us to meet Chelsea and know that Bianca could go to summer camp. We didn’t want to hold her back and the Y helped us overcome our fears and give her this opportunity,” said Lilly.
Bianca attended camp at the L-S Y three days a week last summer and had a great time. Her favorite parts were swimming and arts & crafts. Bianca summed up how important a summer camp experience is when she said, “It was like magic that I made friends at camp! I wouldn’t have made friends if I was at home.”
About type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body’s system for fighting infection (the immune system) turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.