Team Savannah: Savannah Davidson (in orange) welcomes her friends

When you last read about Savannah Davidson here on the Advocate, she was an 8th grade LHJH cheerleader, newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Her first Wildcat performance was at Camp Sweeney Play for the Day 2016, an annual event held every Memorial day to raise funds for the camp for kids with juvenile diabetes.

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What a difference a year makes.

Savannah, who had been on the Camp Sweeney waiting list, was admitted to camp last summer and now says it was the best experience of her life. She may have spent three weeks learning to handle her medical needs independently, but what she remembers most is making friends and having fun in the sunshine.

Besides learning to manage her diabetes, Savannah spent the last year volunteering as a Youth Ambassador for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and helping to plan Monday’s 2017 Camp Sweeney Play for the Day featuring the Sweeney 5k, Lake Highlands artisans, family activities and live music.

You can see my photos from the day here.

Becca Thompson likes hearing Savannah’s success story.

Becca was a Merriman Park sixth grader when she was diagnosed on February 27, 2017 – one day before her 12th birthday.

“I didn’t feel very well – I kept peeing a lot, I was very thirsty,” says Becca of the tell-tale ailments. Her doctor made the diagnosis and promptly sent her to the hospital.

“I was scared,” Becca admits now.

Becca has since learned that, aside from insulin injections and blood sugar checks several times each day, her life can go on as usual.

“It’s a lot easier than you might think, once you get the hang of it. I do my own shots, calibrate my machine and check my blood.”

Becca recently discovered she also has Celiac disease, so she eats gluten-free foods. Other than that, very little is off-limits.

“I don’t have regular soda, but I can have pretty much anything as long as I account for it.”

Pizza? Yeah.

Burgers? Yeah.

Spend the night at friends’ houses? Yeah.

Like most 12-year-olds, Becca has been to camp, even spend-the-night camp before, but she admits she’s a little nervous about Camp Sweeney’s three-week program, designed to train young diabetics to take charge of their care and self-diagnose high and low blood sugars. There’s one thing, though, she’s especially excited about.

“I’m looking forward to being with more people who are diabetic,” says Becca, “and not feeling like I’m different.”

If you’d like to support Camp Sweeney, you may sponsor a child here.

Becca Thompson with her family