CORNER BROOK Hailey Colbourne is a typical 12-year-old who experiences the usual highs and lows of pre-teenage life.
There’s the highs of art and music, and the lows of the nervousness about starting junior high school in September.
Her mom, Corina, is the typical mother of a 12-year-old girl. There’s the highs of seeing her daughter’s love of art and music, and the lows of having her little girl growing up too fast.
But there are also highs and lows for these two that are not so typical. They involve Hailey’s blood sugars.
Hailey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. She was admitted to hospital in September 2008 with a blood-glucose level of just 19. She was there for a week, and began taking needles.
Today, she monitors the disease well, and uses an insulin pump. She doesn’t let her disease slow her down, already trying her hand in sports like basketball. When she enrolls at G.C. Rowe next year, it will be crafts, band, and regular gym classes like every other child.
Diabetes impacts almost 55,000 people living in Newfoundland and Labrador, the highest in Canada.
Although Hailey has attended regular summer camps away from her parents, regulating and monitoring her own diabetes was a big worry for mom and dad.
So, Camp Douwanna was just the thing for both Hailey and her parents.
The camp at Lion Max Simms Memorial Camp in Bishop’s Falls has the swimming, sports and games that every young girl enjoys. But, it also has the medical expertise and leadership that puts worried parents at ease.
Hailey has attended the camp four times, including this summer.
“I enjoy the games,” she said. “We do relay races and have water fights.”
Corina also recognizes the value in the camp.
“As a parent, I can ask her how she feels, but I don’t really know,” she said. “Somebody else with diabetes would be able to tell you.”
These camps found across the country are supported through the Canadian Diabetes Association. It is just one of the many services provided by the national organization through programs like Clothesline.
Large red drop boxes are strategically placed at city businesses where gently used clothing, electronics and small household items can be placed. They are then sold to Value Village, and the Canadian Diabetes Association puts the money toward its advocacy, research and programs.
New program in Corner Brook
This week, the program began in Corner Brook. Red boxes can be found at 10 businesses throughout the city — Veitch’s Ultramar, Castle Carpets and Flooring, Home Hardware, two Stan Dawe Ltd. locations, three Colemans stores, the Corner Brook Plaza, and Corner Brook Garage.
Corner Brook residents can now help the environment and people living with diabetes — without spending a dime.
Corina sees the program as a significant advancement in Corner Brook, not only because it helps fund diabetes camps, but it helps raise awareness about the disease throughout the community.
“It is something that puts diabetes out there,” she said. “A lot more people should have an understanding of what it is, and how serious it can be.”
Operating across Canada since 1985, each year the program diverts more than 46 million kilograms of clothing, household and electronic items from landfills.
Trevor Edwards, regional director for eastern Canada, said the association is always looking for ways to expand the program. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the program has been operating out of St. John’s.
“It increases our collection potential, which in turn increases the revenue that goes to support the mission for the Canadian Diabetes Association,” he said. “It also gives donors the opportunity to support the Canadian Diabetes Association in an environmentally friendly way that costs them nothing.”
Edwards said there was great support from the business community, with little trouble finding business owners willing to lend a space to put the bins.
For more information about the Clothesline program, including what types of items are accepted in the new drop boxes, residents can call 1-800-505-5525 or visit diabetes.ca/clothesline.