Dr. Ron James

Annual Summer Camp for Georgian Diabetic Children

Drs. Patrtcia Blair, ACT-Int CEO, Ronald James and Koba Koplatadze worked together to build the first children's diabetic camp n the Republic of Georgia. In 1995 a delegation of ten Georgian diabetic teenagers, Dr. Koplatadzeand four other staff members, came to Columbia, Missouri to gain camping knowledge and modern treatment methods from Dr. James' Camp Hickory Hill.

In Geeorgia, before 1995, Type I diabetes could not be managed well and caused the death of it's victims usually within ten years of diagnosis. The treatment of choice was to withhold food. Children woiuld die either of malnutrition or complicaitons of diabetes.

Since the establishment of the first camp in the Republic of Georigia in 1996, hundreds of young diabetics are living longer, healthier, most importantly, hopeful lives. the community in which each child lives gains knowledge and hope as well. Dr. Koplatadze monitors his patients and carefully selectsnew patients as well as returning ones tot attend camp each year. Statistics prove that successful lifetime disease management increases dramatically when a child is able to attend camp for five consecutive years.

ACTS-Missouri took its first step toward the international treatment and education of type I diabetes in 1995. It invited ten diabetic teens, two medical students, two nurses and two endocrinologists from the Republic of Georgia to attended sessions at Camp Hickory Hill. No such camp has ever been established in Georgia due in large part to the desperate economic conditions that exist.

For eleven years ACTS has rented an abandoned ski resort, near the scenic mountain village of Bakuriani,for camp use. Transporting sixty children plus counselors, medical staff and supplies from the capital city of Tbilisi takes nearly four hours. It is only 100 miles but a difficult mountain climb stresses old busses and several rest stops are needed for vehicles as well as campers.