Doctor helps diabetic kids enjoy Halloween

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – For kids of any age, Halloween means many things – monsters, scary stories and treats. Candy is a driving force of children dressing up and going house to house, but not every child can fully enjoy uttering the phrase, “trick or treat,” and the sound of the soft thud as neighbors drop pieces to handfuls of candy into their bags. These are the children that suffer from diabetes.

Dr. Bruce Blank, a podiatrist/ surgeon, in St. Clairsville, has given children with diabetes a chance to enjoy Halloween. For the last 15 years, Dr. Blank has been host for a candy exchange party. This is where children can go trick or treating, but instead of giving away the candy or even staying home all together, they can trade the candy in and receive stuff he or she can eat.

“Diabetic children cannot take advantage (of Halloween) like other kids can,” said Dr. Blank in his office located on National Road in St. Clairsville. “They can’t eat the candy they collect.”

The candy exchange has grown into a party with prizes, games and entertainment for the children.

“The party is also an opportunity for parents to network with other parents whose children are dealing with diabetes,” said Dr. Blank. “The children as well as the parents love the party and the camaraderie.”

Dr. Blank first heard of the candy exchange party idea at an American Diabetic Association meeting and thought it was worth a try.

The party is Sunday, Oct. 28, from 3-5 p.m., and those who want to attend must RSVP. The party is held at Dr. Blank’s office located at 46898 National Rd. West in St. Clairsville. If children will not get the candy after the party, he or she can bring the candy in afterwards. All of the candy collected is donated to the Wheeling Soup Kitchen.

“I think it’s also important that the children meet other normal kids, who also have diabetes, so they don’t feel so alone,” said Dr. Blank.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com