King’s Daughters Medical Center Ohio and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) began hosting a special farm visit in 2016 for children with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) that offered a variety of down home activities for children and their families and it’s become a bigger event each time.
During the event at Noble Farms, children with T1D enjoyed healthy, friendly food; a walk in the five-acre corn maze; races on a tricycle and pedal cart track; and a slip down the 40-foot hillside slides. The farm also included a play area, hay-mountain, corn pit, tire swings, sensory garden and lawn games.
And, the entire event was free.
“This event first started last September 2016 and was held at Noble Farms,” KDMC Dietitian Malissa Sarver explained. “In 2016, we had over 50 people attend the ‘A Day on the Farm’ event. Our Type 1 group wanted to have a fun family day event at a place all ages could enjoy. Noble Farms was the perfect location because there’s something to do for any age group-since type 1 diabetes impacts all ages and can be diagnosed at any age.”
This year, the T1D group doubled their turnout with more than 100 people in attendance.
“A Day on the Farm is an experience you don’t want to miss out on,” stated Heather Hardyman who is a dietetics major at Marshall University, volunteer at KDMC, and president of Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND). “It’s a day where children with type 1 diabetes and their families can relax, have fun and know the people around them aren’t judging them. It’s a place where there are no worries about carb counts or having low blood sugar. Carbohydrate counts are provided for all food choices and a low station is there for those in need. A Day on the Farm is a fun experience for parents and children alike. After all, you’re never too old to go down a slide.”
Sarver expressed much appreciation to the farm for supporting the event.
“Noble Farms has been wonderful to work with on this event, providing a great family friendly venue,” she stated. “We have strong community support from our sponsors who value the importance of our type 1 diabetes group and events. Members of our type 1 diabetes group not only attended ‘A Day on the Farm’ but also volunteered at it as well.”
The local type one diabetes groups has worked with the JDRF on previous events to support the local T1D group.
“Ohio River Valley T1D has a close relationship with JDRF as well and without the support from JDRF, KDMC Ohio, all of our local sponsors, and the members of Ohio River Valley T1D none of this would be possible,” Sarver commented.
In addition to working locally with individuals with T1D, Sarver is a mother of a child impacted by T1D, who was diagnosed at 17-months-old. She explained how the support group and events for those with T1D are important local resources.
“Having a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be devastating and leave one feeling isolated,” she explained. “A support group can provide you with emotional encouragement as you deal with challenges unique to people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Having a support group can put you in touch with people going through the same thing as you. This is very important because only a small portion of the diabetes community has type 1 diabetes- about 5-10%. This makes T1D not very well understood by the general public and can make those impacted by T1D feel isolated. Having those living with or a child with T1D longer than your experience can prove to be a great resource. I once had a college professor who said we would learn more from each other than we would the classroom and as the older I get the more wisdom I find in this statement.”
Experts in the field further support Sarver’s statements.
“If you have a more supportive network around you, you’re more likely to be in control,” says Judith Long, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
“Many members of Ohio River Valley T1D can attest to the power of being involved in a support group,” Sarver commented. “Science also backs this as research has found empathetic support also improves overall mental health and quality of life, reduces depression and anxiety, and boosts problem-solving abilities. Peer support isn’t just for the newly diagnosed or those whose diabetes is not controlled. Even people with long-standing diabetes who are in control can benefit from a solid support network. But for them, the means of support may change, such as from group meetings to informal get-togethers with friends who have diabetes.”
Sponsors for this year’s Day on the Farm event included Gatti’s Pizza, Kroger, Blevins Storage, Journey’s Auto Parts, Aubrey Boland, Miss Notre Dame 2017 and KC signs.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.