What made you decide to volunteer at Camp Hendon, and how long have you been volunteering?
I started coming to camp when I was seven and remained a camper for the next ten years of my life. Not becoming a counselor was never really something that was on the table for me. This summer will mark my 4th year as a counselor and my 14th (wow, I’m getting old) summer at camp.
At what age were you diagnosed with T1D?
Age 2, 12/12/01.
What is your role at camp?
Adult Counselor (AC), kid wrangler, whatever you want to call it.
Why do you come back year after year? What do you get from camp, or how has it impacted your life?
I come back because camp is my home away from home and my fellow counselors and staff are my second family. They’ve always been there to lift me up and to motivate me when I need it.
What is your favorite activity at camp, and why?
Probably the zip line. It was my favorite thing to do when I was a camper I loved it when I was an eagle, and a few times, Loucon helped us arrange midnight zipping, which is pretty awesome. But as a counselor, I love it because I can watch my kids ( I call my campers my kids) overcome their fears and, as we say at camp “to stretch,” meaning stretching the limits of their comfort zone and growing as people.
What are some things you have learned or taken away from camp?
For me its that I’m not alone in this T1D battle, that I can always rely on my camp family and reach out to any one of them when I need support, its the best feeling in the world that these people will always have my back no matter the life stage.
What do you do in your real life when you’re not giving your time to Camp Hendon?
Currently, I am a student at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, majoring in Culinary Nutrition. I am receiving my bachelor’s in December and am starting my own small business called “The Diabetic Nutrition Coach” that will focus on food concerning diabetes management. Follow along @diabeticnutritioncoach on Facebook and Instagram.
Do you have any skills or talents that many may not know about you?
I am in the process of learning Italian.
Favorite low treatment snack?
My go-to is generally Gatorade but my FAVORITE is ice cream.
Are you on a pump &/or CGM? If so, which ones?
I was on the Omnipod with Dexcom G5 for years but in January switched to the Tandem Tslim X2 with Dexcom G6.
What is hard for you? How do you manage it?
I’ve had diabetes for so long that its just a part of who I am and my day to day life. In high school it was hard because at school I didn’t have a ton of support but in college my friends are the best that I could ask for. I have one friend who is also chronically ill but not diabetic, and she understands when I’m having a rough day and we talk. I have another who is not chronically ill but she always watches out for me, even when I haven’t seen her in a year and a half but we talk everyday. Plus I have my camp family and with Plumpy (who my best friend named) my artificial pancreas I do pretty well with it all.
Favorite tip for dominating T1D when you have diabetes burnout?
The best piece of advice that I can give is to lean on your support system. If you are a camper, the next time you come back to camp create a group chat with all of your den mates, lean on each other when you need to, that's why camp exists and why we’re here. I had an eagle group chat when I was a camper and it was the best thing when you're having a bad day and can reach out to your camp friends and just to hear that your not alone, that they’re going through the same things is amazing.
Do you wear a medical ID?
I own one, but I don't wear it a ton. I do have a medic alert set up on my phone that could be used as an identifier in an emergency. When I’m up at school I always make a point to tell my chefs and professors that I am Type 1 and show them my gadgets. That way if something were to happen then they would know what's going on.