Over 20 years ago, Tiffany Butler and her family attended the ADA’s weekend-long family retreat shortly after she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She went on to be a teen volunteer, returned to volunteer as an adult, and she and her husband Will helped to re-establish the event as ConnecT1D Family Camp. The ConnecT1D Family Camp committee works hard to bring you a great event each October, and Tiffany has some thoughts to share if you’re considering attending camp for the first time:
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age seven. At that time, we knew one other child in our town with diabetes. In the spring following my diagnosis, we learned about a weekend retreat for families with children with diabetes. It was a five hour drive, but, thirsty for information, we made the trek west.
While my parents learned the latest and greatest about diabetes management and found kinship with other parents also facing the unique challenges of raising a child with diabetes, I was off playing and making new friends. I was delighted to find out I was just one of the MANY kids doing shots and poking my finger before every meal. I believe that weekend helped shape how I, and perhaps my family, thought about my diabetes. More than 20 years later, it’s easy to reflect on the most important things we learned that weekend: we were going to make it and we weren’t alone.
I returned to this special weekend several times over the years, as a camper, camp counselor and planning committee member. I’ve been drawn back to it at different stages of my journey with diabetes, seeking the support and hope I found that first year.
In January 2012, we learned that the retreat would no longer be offered in its traditional weekend-long format. Having benefitted so much from this experience in my 20+ years with diabetes, my husband, Will and I began working with a small group of dedicated ConnecT1D volunteers to bring this valuable weekend to the community.
Will and I have been honored to help re-establish this life-changing event, and we can’t wait to see everyone back at camp.