Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 6 years old, Archie used to feel alone and different to other kids.
Then, despite feeling nervous, Archie and his mum attended his first family diabetes camp, which was funded by donations from Diabetes Australia supporters.
“If you have diabetes, finding your crew is super special,” says Archie’s mum Jess. “At diabetes camps, the kids can take their ‘masks’ off and be themselves. Camp normalised diabetes for Archie and made him realise he was not alone on this often isolating, difficult and painful journey as a type 1 kid.”
It was an experience that for the first time let Archie and his family share the burden of type 1 diabetes because they were face-to-face with other kids and families facing the same challenges.
“As a family we have made valuable connections with other type 1 families who share our challenges. We feel the heavy emotional load that comes with type 1 is now shared,” Jess said.
Those connections made at camps have helped Archie celebrate milestones and try different ways of treating his diabetes.
After the first camp, he made many new friends, including Annie, who helped him realise there were other people like him. “A small, but big victory,” says Jess..
He started setting up a Teddy Bear’s Picnic with make-believe insulin pumps. Archie then decided he wanted to start using a pump and he encouraged Annie to do the same.
Through support from peers, his family and Diabetes Australia, Archie has gained insight and hope about his future.
“The future can be scary as type 1 diabetes is a long-term illness,” says Jess. “The diagnosis of type 1 bought many tears for our family and so do camp visits, except the camp tears are from the joy of being amongst ‘our people’.”
It’s time to unite to ensure more kids like Archie find their crew and connect with the care they need, now and into the future.
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