Baptist camp helps kids fight diabetes
Camp Day2Day is a free camp for youth diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care and the American Diabetes Association. Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal
Like any kid at summer camp, Russell Johnson enjoys the usual offerings of swimming, badminton and touch football, but what will stick with the 12-year-old most from the event he's attending this week is a lesson about how to shop at the supermarket.
"Don't get junk," says the Germantown Middle School student.
Russell was among 32 kids registered for Camp Day2Day, an event for youngsters diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, along with those considered at-risk for the disease because of family history and other factors. It's put on free of charge at The Kroc Center Memphis by Baptist Memorial Health Care and the American Diabetes Association.
The camp's attendance is up 45 percent from the 22 on hand last year, a reflection, perhaps, of the growing awareness of the perils of diabetes and its grip on the Memphis area.
The city lies within a "diabetes belt" -- a region covering 644 counties in 15 states -- identified by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's an area where at least 11 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes, an incurable disease characterized by an excess of glucose in the blood, which can lead to nerve damage, blindness, kidney disease, heart trouble and death.
In Shelby County, more than 82,000 residents had been diagnosed with diabetes in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, and some 250 people die f Continue reading