Camp Diabetable Port Elizabeth report back

Ernest Groenewald, the camp co-ordinator gives us feedback on Camp Diabetable Port Elizabeth.

Camp Diabetable took place at Leaders in Life from the 18 to 20 March, with eleven children attending. It was such a big learning experience. We had numerous activities for the children, starting with an ice-breaker where each person had to introduce themselves to build a tent for themselves before nightfall. They were split into two teams.

The attendees received personalised gifts from Diabetic Accessories. Diabetic Accessories also sponsored diabetic-friendly campfire marshmallows and beautiful bags for each child.


On the Saturday, the children had so much fun as they had to navigate obstacle courses as a team. Afterwards, they had sessions with me (Ernest Groenewald) on how to take care of themselves and some diet tips as well as the differences between what are good carbs to have for low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia).

Afterwards, they had a session with Samantha, a diabetes educator from NovoNordisk. This was a brilliant session with the children as well as with the parents who attended the camp.

Focus of the camp

The focus of this camp was on the children taking care of themselves during activities and learning more about their bodies when it came to symptoms of their blood glucose. It was also to see how other children with the same comorbidity deal with their blood glucose and how they get affected.


The camp was an enormous success as not only did the children enjoy themselves but they also experienced freedom and showed them how they could manage their glucose levels even when they are active. Children with diabetes mustn’t feel alone as we forget how easy children isolate themselves.

My dream is to do more camps for the Eastern Cape region and hopefully grow, with Diabetes South Africa, a strong youth base for future generations of newly diagnosed people with diabetes.

Brooklyn Rabie – my life isn’t perfect, but I’m blessed

Teenager, Brooklyn Rabie, tells us how she remembers her diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes and how she has accepted it and listens to her body.

Brooklyn Rabie (13) lives in Port Elizabeth with her parents and younger brother.

Remembering the diagnosis

On the 31st July 2018, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. First thought, what is that? That means my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin.

We were at my friend’s party. Cupcakes, donuts and any other sweet things you could think of. I wasn’t feeling too well. I was sitting with my parents and not even playing with the other kids. This isn’t normal for a nine year old.

On Monday morning we all preparing for the day ahead. But dad seems to capture my every move. I went to school and just before break my name gets called over the intercom. Instantly, I thought I was in trouble. I see dad standing in the reception area. He says “Princess, let’s go to the doctor and make sure that you are okay”.

Off we went to the doctor. He asked some questions and then tested my blood glucose, it was 27,8. We were shocked at first. My parents knew what it was and all the things we would have to do but I didn’t know what it meant so I wasn’t scared.

When I finally went to hospital and they told me what all I need to do. I’ll have to start using needles, giving myself insulin and testing my blood glucose. I got really scared. My parents were with me the whole time so I guess that’s what gave me assurance.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

One night, earlier in the year, my body just started to reject everything that I consumed, my eyes were watering and I couldn’t lift my head from bed. I was exhausted. My mom and dad decided to take me to hospital. At this stage, I couldn’t even drink water as I would just bring it up.

One hour later in the consultation room, I had two drips on one arm with blood tests being done on my other arm. I just wanted to sleep and felt as if my body was shutting off. From a distance, I heard my dad speaking to the doctor, and the doctor telling my dad that the matter is serious, and I needed to be moved to high intensive care as I was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a complication of diabetes that results from increased levels of ketones in the blood.

Thankfully on the second day, I was moved out of the high care ward and I was able to consume liquids and solids. After five days in hospital, I was discharged provided that I go for check-ups on monthly bases.

Listen to my body

There were many times when I had low and high blood glucose levels. Since being diagnosed, I’ve acknowledged and excepted what diabetes is and listened to my body. I wake up at night knowing something isn’t right without testing. I can feel if my levels are low or high. Thank God for having me in the palm of His hand.

What I want people to know

Many people think that I have diabetes because I ate to much sugar but that’s not it. It’s because my body doesn’t produce enough insulin.

Since I have to inject insulin or prick my finger at school, many of the children ask me what I’m doing and why am I doing that. They are always asking questions about it and unfortunately I hate answering those type of questions.

I would honestly like to do more to make people aware of diabetes, especially at school. That way, we will have more support and still feel as part of everything around us and then I wouldn’t have to answer all of the questions.

Having diabetes has also made me want to become an endocrinologist when I’m older.

Life isn’t perfect, but I’m blessed

This year July, I will have been living with diabetes for five years. I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse. I don’t have everything that I want, but I do have all I need. I wake up with some aches and pains, but I wake up. My life may not be perfect, But I’m blessed.