Discovering D-Camps... A Cross-Canada Cycling Adventure
Greetings! My name is Ian Faulds. I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was first diagnosed at the age of 12, in 1971. At that time, I had the opportunity to attend Camp Huronda, a summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes, in its first year of operation on the shores of beautiful Lake Waseosa, near Huntsville, Ontario. Over the next 5 decades, my experience as a Huronda camper, staff member, and Camp Committee volunteer has had a profound impact on my life...
It is at camp that I first learned how to canoe, sail, ride a horse, build a fire, put up a tent, read the stars, and live comfortably in the out-of-doors. It is where I learned to play the guitar. It is where my love affair with the natural world was firmly established. It is where my fear of standing before a group eventually evaporated with the right costume or role in various skits and dramatic events. Camp provided me with the confidence to become the person I was meant to be. Speak with other Camp Huronda alumni and you will hear similar stories. All of these skills have become permanent fixtures in my life. My camp experience has fundamentally impacted my career as a teacher and outdoor educator. It is where some of my most treasured relationships began. After all, it is at Camp Huronda that a group of friends became life-long comrades in our collective journey to find the best strategies to manage our diabetes and live successful lives.
During the summer of 2016, enjoying some flexibility with my time, I decided to begin a cross-Canada cycling adventure. While I was reasonably confident that I could do this, there was a part of me that was prepared if things didn’t work out. I’m older now (64), and having managed my diabetes for 50 years (as of April, 2022!), I had to wonder if I had the fitness, the legs, and the determination to complete such a journey. It turned out to be the amazing experience I had hoped it would be... and so much more! I knew that if I could make it over the mountains, I could handle the challenges further east. I started in Victoria and finished in Calgary. Along the way I stopped in for a visit at Camp Kakhamela, near Gibsons, BC, and Camp Jean Nelson, north of Cochrane, Alberta, two of the western D-Camps (summer camps for children with type 1 diabetes operated by Diabetes Canada). The people I met, the mountain scenery, the amazing weather, the grizzly bear (I’ll save that amazing story for another time)... awesome!
For all of the gifts that Camp Huronda has bestowed on me, I believe it is time to give something back. Over 6 summers, my plan has been to continue my cycling adventure by visiting all 9 D-Camps in Canada as well as 5 independent diabetes camps. As an older guy living with type 1 diabetes, and travelling on a bicycle across the country, I believe I bring a positive message to share with young people who may be facing a variety of challenges living with this condition. I see this journey as a thread that will help connect all diabetes camps in their common purpose and create greater awareness of our mission within the DC (Diabetes Canada) community and beyond. It is my hope that the pictures and stories that I will be collecting along the way, including a documentary of my trip upon completion, will be effective in supporting this goal. With this project, there is an opportunity, I believe, to raise funds in support of children living with type 1 diabetes...
During the summer of 2017, I cycled from Calgary to Saskatoon, and on to Prince Albert and the Saskatchewan Children’s Camp (Saskatchewan’s D-Camp). I then cycled to Winnipeg, Kenora and on to Camp Briardale (Manitoba’s D-Camp) on a beautiful island in Lake of the Woods. I finished my trip in Thunder Bay, Ontario. During the summer of 2018, I started at Camp Huronda, near Huntsville, and cycled to Alliston to visit the famous Banting Homestead. I then cylced to London to visit Camp Discovery and Banting House, the National Historic Site where the concept of insulin as a remedy for diabetes was born. I finished my trip back home in Markham. In 2019, I returned to Thunder Bay and cycled for 5 weeks along the north shore of Lake Superior, on to Manitoulin Island, the Bruce Peninsula, and eventually back to Camp Huronda for another visit. I then cycled through Algonquin Park to Camp Banting and on to Ottawa where I finished my trip.
And then came Covid-19! As a result, most diabetes camps were closed for in-person programs during the past 2 summers. This meant a 2-summer hiatus from my cross-Cannada adventure. When camps re-opened in the summer of 2022, I resumed my journey east through Quebec and New Brunswick- visiting 3 independent camps- and Nova Scotia where I visited Camp Morton and Camp Lion Maxwell. I finished my trip in Sydney, NS.
This summer, I look forward to completing my cross-Canada journey! I will fly to Charlottetown, cycle to PEI's independent diabetes camp, and then make my way back to Sydney, NS. I will then take the ferry to Port aux Basques and cycle across Newfoundland to Camp Douwanna, 9th in DC's family of D-Camps. If my plan works out, by the time I reach Cape Spear, Newfoundland, I will have cycled close to 10,000 km!
Join me for this amazing cross-Canada cycling adventure! You can make a difference in the lives of children living with type 1 diabetes. By making a donation to my event, you are supporting Diabetes Canada in its mission to help children with type 1 diabetes lead healthier lives while working to find a cure. By helping to support diabetes camps across Canada you will go a long way to achieving this goal. Specifically, 100% of funds rasied will provide children living with type 1 diabetes an opportunity to attend camp, regardless of their ability to pay.
Your support is key in helping Diabetes Canada lead the fight against diabetes through delivery of diabetes education and services, advocacy and research. For more information, visit diabetes.ca.