Just recently diagnosed, he thought diabetes made him different from his classmates, but Camp Kudzu taught him how to manage his symptoms and stay healthy.
“He was the only kid in is class with diabetes,” east Cobb resident Boltax said of her son. “Before camp, he didn’t see anything fun about it … but he made some great friends and got such a firm foundation of support in the diabetes community.”
But Zac did have one complaint: the cabin next to his was empty. Could his mother do anything to send more kids to camp?
Boltax planned a fundraising luncheon and, six years later, the annual event continues on.
“Even just on a wing and a prayer like that, we had 100 people come,” Boltax said of the first event. “The goal was [to raise enough money] for 17 scholarships to fill up the cabin and we did.”
This year, Camp Kudzu will honor the former Camp Kudzu board member and her tireless efforts to help children attend the camp, which serves about 600 kids each summer at camps in Rutledge and Cleveland and an additional 200 children and family members during weekend programs and trips held throughout the year.
“Camp gives these kids a reprieve,” Boltax said. “[It’s a place] where they’re not the only one pricking their finger. They’re not the only one with a pump or checking their insulin. They don’t have to feel awkward. They can just relax and have a great time.”
Camp Kudzu Development Director Vic McCarty said this year’s fundraising goal is about $50,000. At $1,500 per camper, that would provide at least 30 scholarships, he said.
With more than 200 people already registered to attend, McCarty said he anticipates reaching the goal.
“The event has grown exponentially in the last six years from a small ladies’ luncheon to one of the premiere fundraising events in Atlanta,” said Camp Kudzu Executive Director Alex Allen. “It is a moving event. It is a fun event and an exceedingly meaningful event to those in the room affected by diabetes.”
Chris Cann, event co-chairwoman with Wendy Foulke, said while Camp Kudzu is solely focused on sending kids to camp and does not raise funds for diabetes research, she believes a cure is within reach. But until then, she wants to give all children with diabetes the tools to live a happy and healthy life.
“Camp gives my daughter Molly, who was diagnosed at age 2, something tangible to hope for, … something to look forward to,” she said.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta reports 400 newly diagnosed diabetes patients each year, with more than 6,000 children in Georgia living with diabetes, according to its website.
“We must have a big heart and be willing to take on the big challenge to meet the needs of those children,” Allen said.
If you go:
What: Camp Kudzu Benefit Luncheon
When: Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Where: Piedmont Driving Club, 1215 Piedmont Ave., Midtown
Cost: $100 for individual tickets with sponsorships available