Learning about diabetes with others just like you

Dalton Hagen
Dalton Hagen learned more about diabetes at summer camp.

According to Dalton Hagen of Cresco, having diabetes isn’t any fun.  But, when you can go to camp with others like you, it’s easy to be just another kid.

Dalton was selected by the Winneshiek Medical Center diabetes education team as the recipient of this year’s campership to Camp Hertko Hollow in Boone, Iowa.  The Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation, through support of the Calmar Corvette Club, funds a campership to a Winneshiek County youth with diabetes each year.

Camp Hertko Hollow is a week-long adventure where kids go rock climbing, fishing, canoeing, swimming, play Frisbee and football, stay up late, and go on day-long hikes… alongside learning how to live with their disease.  Dalton says, “One morning we got up at 4 am for an all-day canoe trip – we all flipped the canoes on the rapids, except the canoe with our diabetic supplies.”

Dalton was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 10 months old.  At age 14, he understands blood glucose fluctuations and how to manage his disease. Dalton feels his experience with diabetes is a benefit to other kids at camp.  He says, “We learn about diabetes during a time called Education.  Some kids are just diagnosed and in their first year of camp.  The counselors help them a lot, and we help each other too.”

Jean Markee, registered nurse and diabetes educator encourages all youth with diabetes to consider attending Camp Hertko Hollow.  She says, “The week-long camp provides youth the opportunity to interact and make friends with other kids with diabetes.  These relationships encourage social and emotional growth, while learning more about their disease.”  Dalton agrees, but with a slightly different angle.  To other kids considering camp, he says, “Try camp – don’t be nervous, the counselors will help you a lot and you’ll have a blast.  You’ll definitely have fun!”

When asked about his favorite part of camp this year, Dalton says, “Definitely the rock climbing… and the zip-line down!”

The Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation will again be offering a Camp Hertko Hollow campership to any Winneshiek County youth with diabetes.  To inquire about the 2013 application process, call the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation Office at 563-382-2911.

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