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Cameron was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22 months old.   He’s beginning 2nd grade and like many 7 year-olds is very active and enjoys playing sports.  He’s been using an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor since he was two and a half.  When playing baseball, basketball and flag football, Cameron checks his blood sugar before games and keeps glucose tablets on the bench in case he goes low.  Mom and Dad monitor his numbers with their phones during games.  If they cannot attend a game, they have wonderful support system of family, friends and coaches who they’ve educated about the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to treat it.  Cameron is also a very independent child and they trust him to recognize when he’s going low, treat it or speak up.         

The UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence care team is proud of Cameron and his family for the hard work they’ve done keeping his blood sugars in a healthy range.  The praise goes both ways.

“Dr. Feldman [Penny M. Feldman, MD] has been his diabetes doctor from day one,” said Cameron’s mother Amy.  “She’s the kindest, sweetest person and a great doctor.” 

Amy emphasized how every day brings new challenges and adventures when living with diabetes.  “You can do the same thing each day but get different results,” she said.  “The hardest part is learning to go with the flow and understand that diabetes has a mind of its own.  There will be days where results are out of your control.”

Between his quarterly clinic appointments, Amy communicates with Cameron’s care team if his numbers go out of range and/or fluctuate.  “We love nurse Emilie,” she said.  “If I call with a question, she gets right back to me.  I download and share his numbers with them online and we make necessary adjustments.” 

Amy added, “On sick days, they’re always just a phone call away.  In addition to a great personality with patients, Emilie is also a big help working with the school nurse when necessary.”   

Amy also appreciates the help provided by social worker Diane Bowes-Hudson.  “In addition to assisting with school and camp paperwork and keeping us in the loop about community events, she also checks in on me and my husband to make sure that we are doing alright.”  

For a first-grade assignment, Cameron’s class was asked how they would spend $100.  His written response was “I would spend half of it in JDRF and the other half at Great Wolf Lodge.”  He brought it in to his next clinic appointment and we shared it on the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellent Twitter and Facebook pages.  Great Wolf Lodge saw the post and invited Cameron and his family to spend the night and enjoy the waterpark!

This summer he spent week at the Clara Barton diabetes day camp and was excited to see Dr. Feldman was there all week.  Cameron was also selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Pawtucket Red Sox game on JDRF night.  His fundraising team called Cameron’s Minions participates in the annual Central Mass JDRF Walk.  “In addition to fundraising, it’s a great opportunity to provide education and awareness about type 1 diabetes,” said Amy.  “I think it’s great how Dr. Feldman and others from the UMass diabetes clinic attend the JDRF Walk, the diabetes camps and get involved and offer support out in the community.”

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