Why DYS? Ask Kathie Johnson.


Kathie and Brian enjoying a camp inspired laugh

– by Beth Ruf

Kathie Johnson met DYS through a support group meeting in 1995.  At that time, her son, Brian, was 3 years old and had been diagnosed for a year.  She made great friends through that group and they became their second family.

After seeing how camp impacted Brian, a nurse, Kathie decided to give back to DYS and volunteer for the med staff at camp.  She has been an incredible addition to the staff.  Kids, staff and volunteers all love Kathie.
When anyone sees Kathie’s beautiful smile they know they are going to have a great time at camp!  As a mom of a type 1, she knows first-hand how important camp is for the kids.  She says, “I love to see the kids interact with each other and make new friends each year.”  With 15 years at camp, Kathie has seen a lot of kids make a lot of friends and have a lot of fun.


Kathie and Patty at Camp

Kathie and Patty at Camp

Fun is Kathie’s middle name.  One of the other nurses, Patty McCullough, said that she spends the entire week laughing with Kathie.  Having fun and knowing you are not alone in dealing with diabetes is very important to a child, but Kathie knows it is not all about friends and fun.  She says she comes back each year because she knows how important it is that the kids learn about managing their own diabetes.
Her son Brian believes in this too!  After having graduated from camp, become a counselor, grown up and graduated from college, Brian joins his mom each year at camp.  Even moving from the area didn’t diminish the connection that the Johnsons have with DYS!  They are as committed as ever!  Kathie says, “… even though I live in Pittsburgh now, my heart will always be with DYS and I will continue to be a Camp Nurse until there is a cure!”


We are pleased to hear that!  See you in June, Kathie!  Thank you for all you have done for the kids at DYS and we look forward to many more laughs, tears and years at Hot Shot Camp!  If you are interested in learning how you can make a difference in the life of a child at camp, please volunteer.  You don’t have to come from Pittsburgh…you don’t even have to come to camp!  We have all sorts of opportunities for volunteers in the office, at home, AND at camp.  Email or call 419-291-1234 for more information.

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