NEWBURY -- The Board of Directors of the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation has announced that the nation's first and oldest camp for children with Type 1 diabetes will reopen.
"A great deal of time and effort has been contributed to try to keep Camp Ho Mita Koda open, this summer and in the future," says foundation chairman Ted Rusinoff. "Our Board is grateful to the many volunteer leaders who have stepped forward to chair committees and to engage our community, including our health care partners. I am thrilled to formally announce that we can offer camp this July."
Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.
People with the disease must carefully balance insulin doses (either by injections multiple times a day or continuous infusion through a pump) with eating and other activities throughout the day and night. They must also measure their blood-glucose level by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood-glucose levels, both of which can be life threatening. Children with T1D learn to manage their disease better, and meet other children who struggle with it, at Camp Ho Mita Koda.
In April, the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland announced that it would dissolve effective June 30, 2017, and that historic Camp Ho Mita Koda would be closing as well. Soon after that meeting, the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation, a new non-profit organization, was formed. The foundation was established by community leaders, camp alumni, families of campers and others who want to see Camp Ho Mita Koda serve children with diabetes this summer and also well into the future.
Camp Ho Mita Koda was founded in 1929 by Dr. Henry John, an early pioneer in insulin therapy at the Cleveland Clinic, and his wife, Betty, when they brought six children to their summer home for the first year of camp. One of those children was Betty's younger sister, whose life had been saved by the administration of insulin. She was 16 and the first unofficial "Counselor in Training."
Betty worked with the children every day and Dr. John came out every night to check in, take blood and urine tests and adjust the treatment protocols for each camper. Today, medical care is provided at Camp by University Hospitals/Rainbow Babies and The MetroHealth System, in addition to the Cleveland Clinic.
"We are so pleased that the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation has been established and that they will be able to offer camp this summer, and into the future," says Tom Bennett, executive director of the Diabetes Partnership. "We didn't want this rich history, or the services provided at camp, to be lost. I am grateful that this group stepped up. "
Financial contributions are needed to ensure the success of Camp Ho Mita Koda. Donations can be made online at www.chmkfoundation.org or mailed to the attention of the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation, 14040 Auburn Road, Newbury Township, Ohio 44065.
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