Hi. My name is Lola. I am 14 years old and in high school where I play as the starting second baseman on their varsity softball team, and I have an incurable disease.
I am still wondering how someone like me could end up in a hospital bed two and a half years ago having a random stranger tell me that I have type 1 diabetes (T1D) and that I will live with it for the rest of my life. I still vividly remember how everything happened. No child should have to watch their hair fall out. No child should almost pass out while altar-serving at mass. No child should have constant cramping in their legs, even if they were playing the catching position. No child should lose four pounds in two days. We thought that the weight loss was from all the running. Little did we know; my body was using fat just trying to allow me to continue walking and breathing.
In the hospital, there was so much new information being crammed into my head. It was like I was cramming for an exam the night before the big test. Technically speaking, my pancreas stopped creating a hormone called insulin that regulates my blood sugar. Most people want to keep their blood sugar below 100. When I was diagnosed, my blood sugar was 624. Along with being that high, my lowest blood sugar has been in either the low 30s or high 20s. I would always think, “I am never going to be able to keep this in check, especially while playing softball.” Then, I discovered Camp Kudzu!
I had been going to overnight camp since 3rd grade. When I was diagnosed, that was one of the first things that came to my mind. I thought I would have to give it up. Miraculously, one of the nurses told us, “There is this amazing place where kids with diabetes can go to camp!!” I instantly asked my mom if I could go. I was diagnosed in May of 2016. I went to Camp Kudzu the next month.
Camp is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. When I first went to camp, they taught me how to be independent with my diabetes and how to handle it in the best ways. I was so scared to be without my mom for the first time after being diagnosed. I remember my blood sugar dropping really low in ceramics. Everyone knew that I was newly diagnosed, and they all helped me, making sure I was okay. When I got to camp, they taught me how to be brave, with my diabetes and with other things, too. The giant
swing, the zipline, and even horseback riding are things that I never would have wanted to be associated with. Now, they are some of the first places that I go when I get to camp.
I have been made fun of many times for my disease. “Oh, she uses it as an excuse for everything.” “Why does she have to go down to the clinic so early before lunch? All she has to do is prick her finger and plug a few numbers in her pump.” At camp, I don’t worry about anyone saying anything about me. Everyone treats each other as equal individuals because we all know what each other goes through. At Camp Kudzu, we get to live like any other kid in such an abnormal way. Camp Kudzu is my happy place. It is almost more of a home for me than my actual one. Lots of people don’t believe in love at first sight, but as soon as I got to camp and stepped onto the crunchy gravel, I knew that Camp Kudzu was where I belonged.
Camp Kudzu is like magic that will never leave your heart. I feel like I can hear Camp Kudzu calling my name over and over again every year even months before I go. Camp Kudzu is the place where I can go to escape all of the madness of the real world. Camp Kudzu is my home.
People just like you make it possible for Camp Kudzu to help kids just like me. Camp Kudzu is such a special place that every kid with T1D should go. I ask you to help give other kids the same chance I received to go to Camp Kudzu and call it home too. Trinity HealthShare has made a matching gift, they will donate dollar for dollar, up to $10,000! Please consider helping and make a gift with double the impact! Thank you so much for your help.