Were going on a diabetes uk care event!
Side note: Im sorry this blog has taken so long to go up. This is about my experience as a camper on a care event and my next blog with be about being a volunteer on a care event. Its taken me ages to write this (don't get me wrong the quality is average! ahaha! But Ive written this and edited it lots because I just cant do justice and put it into words how valuable these experiences have been to me.
'One of the most beautiful qualities of a friendship is to understand and be understood' - meeting 23 other teenagers with the same 'disease' as me this week confirms that. A friendship is based on common ground and we already had this. Over this past week I have make some of the most amazing friends who we have shared such a emotional week with! It was strange watching everyone test and treat hypos but amazing that we all properly understand how life with type 1 is like! We can do anything that anyone else can do and this weeks confirmed this for me! I love these guys to pieces and I'm so pleased to have met them♥’
When I was 17 I had only met a few people with type one diabetes. Growing up not knowing many people apart from a few teenagers on Jdrf discovery days and online is hard. People in everyday life are always so supportive but really they can only sympathise and through no fault of there own just don't get the emotional and physical extent of T1.
Id met lots of lovely type 1’s through Facebook but I wanted to meet people like me and spend time with them - i guess, i wanted to feel ‘normal for a while’. I know I'm not a green alien with four eyes but wearing your organ on your sleeve isn't exactly conventional! haha! Looking through the Internet I came across Diabetes uk care events - something I had never heard of before! How!? I found a care event for 16 to 18 year olds in Centre Parks and excitably applied to the camp. As the time drew near I asked in a Facebook group if anyone else had applied for the event to which two girls replied. Maya, who I had previously met at a JDRF day and Alyssa who lived in Scotland. A couple of weeks before the camp my family and I travelled to Scotland for a sailing event where Alyssa and I met up and got to know each other - to this day she is still my best friend. Camp rolled around and I was so nervous! But knowing one or two people made me feel a bit more at ease.
However arriving at the event I decided to make the most of meeting people like me. Within the first couple of hours of being there it was like we'd know each other all of our lives! Cliche I know - but it was true! Normally when you meet new people you have to make awkward small talk whilst you try to find something remotely in common, however with us all having the same disease we already had a connection. It's so strange to meet a group of people from all over the Uk and have loads of funny stories about your hypos and hypers which everyone else can relate too.
At camp we were all in houses of 4 two boys, two girls and two leaders, allowing us to be independent... To an extent! My house consisted of two leaders; Bryony and Lidia (who also has type 1!) and were both lovely. My housemates and three other fellow type 1’s were, James, Alfie and Maya (what a coincidence!).
The week consisted of some amazing activities! From Go Ape to Gill Scrambling everyone got so involved with all the activities (even the leaders!). Each activity allowed you to be adventurous and try new things you may have been to worried about trying on school trips because you may have been too scared about your blood sugar and none understanding your condition properly. But this was different. None was the odd one out - if it was anyone it was some of the leaders who didn't have it! It also made you feel safe knowing that people around you understood and we were all fighting the same condition. Peoples bloods reacted differently with each activity - because type 1 is never the same for each person!
As well as getting to learn more about how our bloods reacted to different activities we also got to learn from each other. I don't know about any other type 1’s but i find it fascinating to learn about other peoples diagnosis stories! (Nosey Parkhurst!) Spending time going swimming, on the activities and team bonding as well as having diabetes makes you so close and makes memories that I know ill treasure forever.
Even after two years I speak all the time to my two best friends Grant and Alyssa who I met on this camp. We provide each other with so much support and understanding. We are having a reunion at the People with Diabetes Conference at the end of February and I cannot even explain how excited i am to see them both again. I still speak to so many of the other campers from the holiday and it has made diabetes feel like a blessing some ways because without it i wouldn't have met them. Im so glad I went on the care event because (without sounding cliche) I has made me feel less alone and I have made friends that will last a lifetime. Finally a massive thank you too all the volunteers who without, this event would never have happened <3
Finally, Centre parks - ‘Whats the crack?!’
Lots of love The Backpacker and the Pod xxx