Event raises funds for diabetic children

Your next mocha latté or dinner could help send children to summer camp. Kool Bean Bistro in Ocean View will host an all-day fundraiser on Saturday for the nonprofit Camp Possibilities, for children with Type I diabetes.

“The goal is to fund two kids to go to camp,” said Nancy Crass, Kool Bean owner.

A portion of all sales Saturday, June 21, will go directly to camp scholarships.

Kool Bean opens regularly from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, then has two seatings for dinner, at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Dinner costs $40 per person.

Camp Possibilities “gives children with diabetes the youthful experience of summer camp” in Harford County, Md., according to the organization’s website. Kids have medical staff nearby, and they learn about managing their diabetes — but this isn’t a health boot camp. So camp is all about swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, basketball, nature walks, talent shows and more.

“They can be normal, healthy human beings, as long as they manage their diabetes. And kids who go to camp — they get that,” said Rita Meadows, an Ocean View nurse practitioner and camp volunteer.

Despite eating a strict diet or perhaps wearing a semi-permanent insulin pump, the children run around on regular camp adventures, with the staff “running after them with insulin and carbohydrates,” Meadows joked. “It’s an incredible camp.”

As the camp’s medical staff director, Meadows leads a cadre of volunteer doctors, endocrinologists and other physicians.

“These kids … are sick of trying to educate the public because Type I is completely different from Type II, but they’re bunched in together,” she said.

Darrick Mudry still remembers earning a certificate from A.I. duPont Hospital for doing his own insulin injections at age 5. The Kool Bean employee has Type I diabetes and checks his insulin level several times daily.

“A lot of people think you can only get it if you’re fat and eating a lot of sugar,” Mudry said.

Not true, corrected the slender young man. Type I is genetic in his family.

According to Diabetes.org, Type I diabetes means the body does not produce insulin, “a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.”

Type II diabetes is more common and can result from inactivity or poor diets. “The body does not use insulin properly,” attempting to overproduce, then lagging behind on insulin production.

“The actual cost of sending a child to camp is around $1,700, but because we have such generous grants” and donors, Meadows said, the price tag is reduced to $1,200, which still hangs heavily for even middle-class families.

Typically, about 30 percent of the children require a “campership,” or financial assistance.

“But, this year, the number has increased, so I took it upon myself to help a child … go to camp,” Meadows said.

It’s also a small vacation for parents, Meadows admitted. Even as a camp employee, she barely sees her own children during their busy week. Her children still attend the camp, as counselors and campers.

A violinist with the Dover Symphony Orchestra, Meadows will probably play Celtic music during dinner hours, too, at the fundraiser on Saturday. Some local campers will also attend the June 21 event, to sell tickets and talk about the camp. A 50/50 drawing and ticket-drop prizes will complete the day.

“It was so nice to get the response that I got, in donations for the silent auction and support I got from the community. It was just wonderful. We have an incredible silent auction because of that generosity,” she said.

“I think the community, as a whole, really understands the needs of these children, and we need to really focus on educating the public a little more on the difference between these two diseases.”

By educating the public, she said, children will be more comfortable with themselves and better manage their health.

For dinner reservations for the fundraiser, contact Jeff Deitz at (302) 563-9460. Kool Bean can be reached at (302) 541-5377.