Sometimes, having diabetes makes kids feel very different than others. Such was the case for Lauren Luzum of Decorah, who wanted to go to diabetes camp so she could “have fun and not be the only one with diabetes.”
Lauren, daughter of Brian and Jennessa Luzum, applied for a campership to Camp Hertko Hollow, an opportunity provided through the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation. “Having diabetes… is like I am on a lifetime diet. I would like to see how other people manage diabetes,” Lauren said.
Lauren was one of three youth who were awarded camperships in 2018. Also receiving camperships were Thomas Hendrickson (who went to train to be a youth counselor) and Morgan Moen. Lauren said of her experience, “I enjoyed every second of it and I and met some new friends. I also learned a lot about how to manage my diabetes – how to know how much insulin to take by counting my carbs.” She added, “I had a lot of fun at Camp Hertko Hollow.”
For the 10th year, the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation is offering camperships for area youth between ages 8-17 to attend Camp Hertko Hollow, an Iowa camp for kids with diabetes. The campership program is offered thanks to donations from the community dedicated to supporting local diabetes prevention and education.
Camp Hertko Hollow was founded in 1968 with 37 campers by Dr. Edward Hertko of Des Moines. The camp has grown to over 360 campers and 120 staff volunteers each summer. Jean Irvin, RN and diabetes educator at Winneshiek Medical Center, says, “The week-long camp provides youth the opportunity to interact with and befriend other kids with diabetes – relationships that encourage social and emotional growth –while learning more about their disease.” She adds, “Kids can participate in traditional camp activities with others just like them.”
The camp is staffed by physicians, nurses, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and students of these professions, making it a safe and healthy environment for each camper. Irvin says, “Early education on how to manage diabetes greatly increases the likelihood these youth will make a life-time commitment to healthy diabetes care. Kids that go to camp will gain the tools to better manage their disease through adulthood.”Share this story.