What made you decide to volunteer at Camp Hendon and how long have you been volunteering?
Lisa Ullrich asked me to help with pump site changes for one day at camp. That was about 15 years ago, and I’ve been volunteering ever since then.
What is your role at camp?
I am the Pump Team Leader at camp sessions, and am completing my tenure on the board of Camp Hendon. I have served on the board for the past 7 years, and I look forward to continuing to be involved with camp through volunteering on committees.
Why do you come back year after year? What do you get from camp or how has it impacted your life?
The week of camp is my favorite of the year. I love watching these amazing young people blossom and flourish as the week progresses. I see them gain confidence and friends. They realize they aren’t alone and have a wonderful support system through camp and their peers. I see the positive impact camp has on these kids all year long.
What is your favorite activity at camp and why?
The big water slide is my favorite activity. I love watching the kids laugh and how carefree they are when they are zooming down the slide.
What are some things you have learned or taken away from camp?
I have learned how truly resilient and strong people with diabetes are. These kids are the smartest, bravest, strongest of all and they inspire me to be a better person every day. I am honored to walk this journey with them.
What do you do in your real life when you’re not giving your time to Camp Hendon?
I am a Diabetes Dare and Education Specialist at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center in Louisville, and lead the diabetes technology program there.
I have been married to my husband, Rob, for 27 years, and we have one son, Adam. Adam is a senior in mechanical engineering at Purdue this year. We have 2 dogs, Mini and Boomer, who keep us busy!
My hobbies include tap dancing (I think most of the campers know this), hiking, reading, and traveling.
Do you have any skills or talents that many may not know about you?
I have been tap dancing for most of my life, and teach classes in my time away from work.
Funding will allow nearly 400 kids with Type 1 Diabetes and their families to attend Camp Hendon for safe, fun, educational camp experiences after a year of cancellations due to COVID-19.
(LOUISVILLE, Ky., September 1, 2021) “Summer Camp and Beyond” is the premise for the Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children’s use of a new $25,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation. The Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, better known as “Camp Hendon,” offers medical camping programs to youth with Type 1 Diabetes and their families in the Kentucky region and beyond. After cancelling all in-person programs in 2020 and early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Hendon was able to bring 106 children with Type 1 Diabetes back to summer camp in June and July.
Type 1 Diabetes, or T1D, is an autoimmune disorder that mostly strikes during childhood and puts families in a state of constant vigilance to avoid extreme high or low blood sugars. The disease can be deadly, but programs like Camp Hendon exist to empower youth to take control of their journey with diabetes. Children gain not only practical skills to help manage Type 1 Diabetes, but they experience the camaraderie of others who intimately understand the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Both the physical and emotional support provided by Camp Hendon boost campers’ interest in and ability to care for themselves. Camp Hendon’s programs also give parents a much-needed reprieve from the 24/7 stress of managing a chronic condition, and peace of mind knowing that their children are under constant medical supervision.
The Anthem Foundation’s support of “Summer Camp and Beyond” will fund children and families attending camp programs and receiving this essential educational and emotional support. “Camp Hendon is truly magical: not only does it provide Lucas with normalcy and fun at camp and events throughout the year, but it also provides me with the emotional support and friendships needed while parenting my way through the diagnosis. We are very grateful for organizations like Anthem, who are generous in donating to Camp Hendon, so they can continue supporting all of our families,” says Stephanie Schneidtmiller, the parent of a camper who first became affiliated with Camp Hendon three years ago through their family program. Camp Hendon’s goal is to send 382 participants to camp programs over the course of the year.
“The life of a child with diabetes can be incredibly isolating,” says Camp Hendon Executive Director Megan Cooper, “but when they arrive at camp and for the first time in their life they are surrounded by other kids feeling the exact same thing, it is an unbelievably powerful experience. It can change a child’s whole outlook when they realize they aren’t alone. Our thanks to the Anthem Foundation for helping make this a reality cannot be overstated.”
For three years running, the Anthem Foundation has supported Camp Hendon in their growth and programming. The Foundation’s total giving to the Kentucky nonprofit has surpassed $75,000, with their most recent $25,000 grant made in 2021.
“The generosity of the Anthem Foundation continues to amaze us, year after year,” says Cooper. “The Foundation understands the value of what happens at camp, and they are a dedicated partner in easing the burdens of Type 1 Diabetes in our youth.”
“The Anthem Foundation is pleased to support Camp Hendon because their work to help Kentucky’s kids manage the physical and emotional aspects of T1D mirrors our commitment to whole person health,” says Kentucky Anthem Foundation Manager Morgan Coleman. “The lessons learned, memories created, and friendships formed will be with these kids for the rest of their lives.”
About Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, Inc. dba Camp Hendon
Camp Hendon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, tax ID 27-3619275. Our mission is to give children with diabetes life-changing experiences, empowering each of them to take control of their unique journey. Primary programs include summer camp for youth with diabetes ages 8 – 17, Family Camp for youth with diabetes ages 6 – 13 as well as their siblings, parents, and other caregivers, and a Teen Retreat for teens ages 13 – 17 with diabetes. Financial aid is available. Visit us online for more information at www.CampHendon.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.