Superheroes reside in the hearts of those fighting big battles. But I think that even bigger superheroes reside in the hearts of those fighting big battles that you know nothing about.
Had you pulled up to Camp Setabaid in Bethel, Pennsylvania throughout any given day you would see kids of all ages filling their water bottles after playing soccer and kickball, campers excitedly jumping into the pool or patiently waiting at meal times. You might see looks of exhaustion on the faces of all the counselors or joy on the faces of campers dressed up in silly superhero costumes.
However, if you looked a little closer and spent the day with those same campers you would know that they were filling their water bottles because their mouths were as dry as sand paper. The lack of insulin or burst of excitement caused an unpredicted high blood sugar, but these warriors refused to sit out.
If you stuck around for pool time you could see that every single kid had either bruises from injections or pump infusion sets on their arms legs or stomachs. This was a short moment in their lives that they would be “free” from the tether connecting them to the fears, confusions, and worry of diabetes, but also their connection to what keeps them alive.
Oh and the starving campers not rushing to the food line? They weren’t just sitting there for fun. They were mentally calculating, adding and dividing, the amount of carbohydrates they were eating and the insulin they needed for a correction or bolus.
At any sleep away camp you would expect to see tired counselors. But these counselors were not only tired from chasing kids around all day but from getting up at both 12am and 3am to check the blood sugars of all their campers to make sure they weren’t high or low and to ensure they would make it through the night.
At Camp Setabaid, dressing up as a superhero was fun and silly but also represents the strength the campers and staff muster up everyday to live a normal life despite our own bodies attacking themselves. The masks and capes didn’t just represent the characters we read about in comic books but the superheroes inside all of us as we fight the never ending battle of Type 1 Diabetes.
You would realize that this past week at Camp Setabaid, there was a sense of community like never before. It was a place where strength, empathy, learning, compassion and relief filled the air and worries, burdens, fears and stigmas vanished. All of the campers and staff at Camp Setabaid are fighting battles or helping someone else fight battles that you know nothing about.
What makes them superheroes is that they are doing so with perseverance, grace, strength, resilience and bravery; and they do not need a cape to show it.