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Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, Heather Hinz attended Diabetes Canada’s overnight and family camps at Camp Kakhamela on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast throughout her childhood and teenage years. She also completed D-Camps’ leadership programs and worked as a camp counsellor and administrative support for the medical team. “Camp Kakhamela provided me with an irreplaceable network and strong community. It has been, and always will be, such an important part of my life,” she says.

When Heather got married in June 2018 in Calgary, D-Camps played a role in her wedding. Heather and her husband, Mike, replaced the tradition of “clinking for kisses” with a request for donations for D-Camps. Friends and family raised $500 to provide financial assistance for a camper in need (and see a few kisses from the couple). “I formed lifelong friendships with fellow campers and the medical team that continue today. Two of my bridesmaids are also D-Camps alumni, and part of the medical team was in attendance on our special day.”

Diabetes has given me much more than it has taken away, and I want to encourage youth with type 1 diabetes to reach for the stars. It won’t be easy, but who needs easy? We only need possible.

Now living in Calgary, Heather is working on a master of science degree at the University of Alberta, studying type 1 diabetes and exercise. Last year, she took Mike to Camp Kakhamela, so he could see what it was like. Looking back on her experiences, she says, “D-Camps taught me…that I can achieve my goals and take on any challenge.

Author: Kirstie McRae

Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy, Impact Stories, Camps;

Region: National

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