The 2017 Berrie Center Summer Fun Program
“It’s Wonderful to Watch it Happen”

The Naomi Berrie Center Summer Fun Program was a huge hit for the 20 Berrie Center patients (ages 8 to 12) who had an opportunity to visit Chelsea Piers; be physically challenged at Brooklyn Zoo’s Ninja Warrior Training; groove to the beat of the Blue Man Group; take a ropes course at Alley Pond; and fly through the air at

iFly, an indoor, virtual reality sky-diving facility in New York City.

In its 18th year, the Summer Fun Program is going strong. It is a jam-packed week of activities for pediatric patients that help kids with type 1 diabetes (T1D) gain confidence, learn important skills, bond with each other and benefit from the constant attention and support of a community of diabetes role models. This year, a pediatric endocrinologist, a diabetes educator, a social worker and 10 volunteer counselors in training (most of them teenagers who themselves are Berrie Center patients with T1D) were on hand to staff the program each day.

There were highlights galore during the week. The campers loved the session with Pushkin, the Berrie Center’s therapy pup and the well-known dog trainer Kate Perry, who taught the kids the proper way to approach dogs, among other tricks. At the annual Q&A with Berrie Center Co-Director Rudy Leibel, MD, the kids were eager to learn about the latest research, the “bionic pancreas” and were curious about when they could expect the cure for diabetes. 

There was a mask making class led by Cara Lampron, an art therapist at Columbia University Medical Center, and on the final day, everyone enjoyed a liquid nitrogen ice cream party scientifically prepared by James Pring, a clinical research coordinator for the GRADE Study at the Berrie Center.

This year we had Alice Santos Maia, 9, who came all the way from Sao Paolo, Brazil and Javien Perez, 8, who waited five years until he was old enough to attend the Summer Fun Program. (Javien’s sister attended when he was a toddler.)

Said Natasha Leibel, MD, head of the pediatric endocrinology team at the Berrie Center, “What a busy, unique and special week it was for our campers, filled with artistic expression, technology, music, physical activity, lots of learning and, above all, an authentic camaraderie that grew between the children and will last beyond the week. It’s wonderful to watch this happen.”

The Summer Fun Program is offered to families free of charge and is made possible by gifts from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and many other generous friends of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. To support the 2018 Summer Program please click here.

Enjoy the Summer Fun Photos!

Photo Gallery