WSU students learn from campers
Pharmacy students help diabetic kids just be kids
Doing this four times or more a day is common for people with diabetes. However, when you're a young child, the reality of being the only person you know who has to do this can be daunting.
In North Idaho, Camp Fun In The Sun offers diabetic children a way to be kids and share their experiences, with physicians, RNs, certified diabetes educators and health care students nearby.
The camp also offers WSU pharmacy students a chance to understand what living with Type 1 diabetes means. The disease requires insulin injections, because the body does not produce enough. This is different from the more common Type 2 diabetes that people tend to acquire later in life, often because their diets lead them to become insulin resistant.
Pharmacy students prepared
Before attending camp, WSU student pharmacists receive three weeks of intense diabetes education. Like diabetics, the WSU students test their blood sugar multiple times a day, track their food intake, and calculate how much insulin they would need to administer to themselves.
“What this camp offers the WSU students is a place to see diabetes in the real world. With cuts in healthcare and education, pharmacists are going to be the first line of education and defense in diabetes self-management” said Deb Belknap, camp health care director.
The camp also offers WSU pharmacy students a way to fulfill one of the seven internships required in their fourth and final year of pharmacy school.
Camp Fun in the Sun, now in its twentieth year, is operated by Community Health Education and Resources of Spokane.
Focus on having fun
For kids with the diabetes, the focus of the camp is on having a typical summer camp experience. And, it isn’t difficult, given that the camp is nestled under towering pine trees on beautiful Lower Twin Lake, about five miles north of Rathdrum, Idaho. The 100 campers participate in a mutltitude of activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, and basketball.
“You can learn about diabetes from notes, and your books, and your teachers, but being here, it’s so different," said Sherry Whitley, WSU pharmacy student. "You see the kids interact, and they're just normal kids ... They might come in and say, ‘Oh, I have a low.' Then they'll just sit there for 15 minutes, then go back out and play. They just bounce back, like ‘I’m ready, I’m ready!’ It’s just like it doesn’t effect them.”