November 06, 2005
Ten years ago Alicia McAuliffe-Fogarty ’04MA, ’05Ph.D. founded
Circle of Life, a camp for children with diabetes near Albany, NY.
Now, armed with her doctorate in clinical psychology from St
.John’s University, this alumna is relocating the camp to what will
be its permanent site and adding a residential treatment center.
Miraculously, she has turned her own struggle with diabetes-- and
understanding of the psychological ramifications of the disease--
into a mission to help children with a condition that can be
managed but not yet cured.
“I know what it was like to be a child with diabetes,” she says.
Diagnosed with the disease at age 11, she says, “I was afraid to go
to camp for fear of appearing different because I had to inject
myself with insulin.” At the Circle of Life Camp, Inc., a
not-for-profit residential camp, children ages 8-15 can experience
several days of camp in the summer while learning to manage their
diabetes in a supportive environment with other children who also
have the same condition.
Now this tireless St. John’s alumna –who is currently doing a
post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology at Yale University
– is raising funds to purchase a 372-acre fully running camp with
grounds on which to build a residential treatment facility for
children with diabetes. The new site will be located in between
Albany and New York City. (Currently, the bulk of the campers come
from New York State, although children from eight other states also
attend.) McAuliffe-Fogarty believes the Circle of Life camp and
year-round residential treatment facility will be the first complex
of its type anywhere in the world. The treatment facility would
offer children with diabetes the medical, psychological, and social
support they need to manage and cope with this chronic disease as
they mature into adolescents.
The camp, which has used the facilities of Camp Scully in North
Greenbush, NY, for two long weekends after its season ends in late
August, accommodated 85 campers last year, assisted by doctors,
nurses and dieticians. Medical staff and counselors volunteer but
would be paid if the camp obtains the funding it’s seeking. The
camp relies on contributions from individuals, businesses and civic
organizations to keep the cost for campers at an affordable price.
Financial assistance is available for low-income campers. The camp
experience would be expanded to a week-long session in the new
A Celebrity Cook-Off Fundraiser
As founder and executive director, McAuliffe-Fogarty is
intensifying her efforts to raise money to purchase the permanent
site selected. A Celebrity Cook-Off Fundraiser with movie
star Kristanna Loken and two Yankees team members will be held on
Thursday, November 10 at Carmines Restaurant in Albany. The evening
will feature a five-course gourmet dinner with wine. Limited
seating is available through Danielle at 518-669-3116.
McAuliffe-Fogarty is familiar with working hard to achieve her
goals. She’s earned both her Master’s and Ph.D. in clinical
psychology from St. John’s Graduate School of Liberal Arts and
Sciences and received a (2001) Routh Student Research Grant from
the American Psychological Foundation and APA Division 54, Society
of Pediatric Psychology. She’s also written a book about the
psychological impact of having diabetes, entitled, Growing up with
Diabetes: What Children Want Their Parents to Know, published by
John Wiley and Sons.
“Alicia was a particularly self-motivated student,” says her
mentor and dissertation advisor St. John’s Psychology Professor
Alice Pope. “She received an award for her thesis project:
‘Psychosocial Functioning and Regimen Adherence for Children with
For more information about the camp, contact www.circleoflifecamp.org.