THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE A Chance to Be a Kid Nine-year-old Frankie Palladino has done his best to adjust to life with type 1 diabetes since his diagnosis at age 6. But each day brings more responsibilities than a young boy should have to face. Frankie interrupts schoolwork or play time multiple times a day for blood sugar tests and insulin injections and carries with him the weight that he is “different.” He also shoulders a fear that something will go wrong with his health—at least he did before he attended Lions Camp Hickory for children with diabetes in Baldwinsville, New York, last summer. Frankie’s mother, Patty Palladino, is overjoyed at the change she has witnessed in her son thanks to the Baldwinsville Lions. Q&A: Patty Palladino Lion Magazine: Why were you excited to find out about Camp Hickory? Patty Palladino: Frankie handles his diabetes well on a daily basis. He’s learned to take it on the chin. But kids ask questions. People who don’t know him don’t understand. We went to a baseball game, and Frankie had a bag of supplies with him. A guard said he couldn’t bring food in, so Frankie had to explain about diabetes. It’s hard on a kid to have to do that. LM: What did Frankie do at camp? PP: He did things like crafts, games and yoga. His favorite activity was fishing. After trying all week, he finally caught something on the last day. He received a certificate for diligence in fishing—he was so proud! LM: And he didn’t have to feel different. PP: All of the blood sugar testing and insulin injections were scheduled into the camp. At school Frankie has to stop to do this while the other students keep going. He loved camp because it was the one place he didn’t have to explain anything or miss out on anything. He could just have fun. I would send him again in a heartbeat just for that. LM: What else made camp special? PP: The great thing was that the theme present in all of the games and activities was learning to live well with diabetes, but the kids may not have even realized that. The counselors were older kids who also had type 1 diabetes, so it was great for Frankie to see them enjoying life. LM: What was the biggest takeaway for Frankie? PP: His confidence has soared. I’ve really noticed the change that’s developed after camp. He used to worry a lot when it came to sports. He was scared that something bad would happen. At camp, he played sports, he did things he had never done before, and he saw that he was fine. Now he may worry a bit, but he thinks, “I did it at camp, so I can do it now.” Lions: have you heard from a beneficiary or a recipient of your kindness, service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you receive from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description of your correspondence to email@example.com. Please include “Thanks and Appreciation” in the subject line.
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