My name is Jenny Chacón-Garcia and Bearskin Meadow Camp saved my life.
On April 1st 2009, my whole life changed. It started as a normal day, but soon I was weak, pale, thirsty, and throwing up at my Aunty’s house. The last thing I remember was my mom screaming and then I woke up in the hospital. I was there for a full week but it took much longer than that for me to understand what diabetes was.
After that, growing up was really hard for me. People bullied me about my diabetes and made me feel insecure and different. I started to hate myself and wonder if I was meant to be here. Thoughts of suicide soon overcame me, which is far too much for a 9-year old to have to think about. In May, my school nurse told me about DYF’s Bearskin Meadow Camp. When she told me it was a camp for people with T1D, my face went from sad to happy. My mom agreed to sign me up and we got a scholarship so I could attend without paying.
August 6th was the big day. As soon as we got to camp and I saw those beautiful pine trees and the amazing decks, I fell in love. To this day I love the counselors, the way I can connect to other kids, the smell of the trees, and the pure magic of camp.
Fast forward a few years and I was a teenager with diabetes. It was really hard. I started to fall back into the same routines and depression. I was struggling and hospitalized with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) too many times to count. Then I went to Teen Camp at Bearskin and it’s now been two years without a single incidence of DKA. Going to camp for ten days surrounded by other teens with the same struggles impacted me beyond measure. Doctors and counselors at camp gave me more information and helped me accept that I’m not alone. They taught me to love myself.
I know that camp saved my life; I would not be here today without it.
This summer I will be a Leader-in-Training at Bearskin. At camp we are a family and this family has kept me alive. Because of camp I now see my future – I want to be a nurse. Diabetes can get hard but because of camp, I am strong.
Please join me in supporting DYF by making a one-time gift or a join DYF Dedicated with monthly recurring gifts. DYF’s goal is to raise $120,000 in scholarship funds. Your help makes camp possible for children and families like me. Thank you for your help.
With warm regards,