Diabetes not holding back Salisbury’s Hayley Dize

At the Running on Insulin 5K, held in Fruitland every fall, Peninsula Regional nurse practitioner Flora Glasgow ran alongside Allie O’Leary, for whom the race was started; O’Leary’s friend and fellow type 1 diabetic Allie Nutall; and Hayley Dize. O’Leary and Dize are patients of Glasgow at the PRMC Pediatric Diabetes Clinic.

At the Running on Insulin 5K, held in Fruitland every fall, Peninsula Regional nurse practitioner Flora Glasgow ran alongside Allie O’Leary, for whom the race was started; O’Leary’s friend and fellow type 1 diabetic Allie Nutall; and Hayley Dize. O’Leary and Dize are patients of Glasgow at the PRMC Pediatric Diabetes Clinic.

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and teens. It can be difficult for children – and their parents – to face this diagnosis that can change their whole lifestyle in an instant.

Exercise can be a challenge with type 1 diabetes, because it requires a careful balancing act between insulin doses, food and activity. It requires careful monitoring.

But just because something takes an extra few steps doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Two outstanding young patients at Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s Outpatient Pediatric Diabetes Clinic have.

Hayley Dize was 8 years old when two important things happened: She started playing field hockey, and she found out she had type 1 diabetes. She was a little nervous when she found out she had diabetes, but she was determined not to let it stop her.

“I had faith on my side,” she said. “I knew I would be able to manage it.” Since she was in fifth grade, Hayley has worn an insulin pump, a small, computerized device that delivers insulin without the need for injections.

“I am thankful for the freedom the pump gives,” she said. Among other things, it has helped her have the freedom to pursue her athletics.

Now she’s a freshman at Salisbury University studying elementary education and is on the field hockey team. She just participated in her first NCAA tournament with the Division III team.

“It’s been my goal since I was 8,” she said. She says anyone with diabetes can achieve their goals if they are determined enough. “Don’t let it scare you or think you can’t do anything. If you take care of yourself, you can lead the life you want to,” she said.

Another Salisbury teen discovered her condition later. Allie O’Leary started noticing the symptoms when she was 14 years old. “I thought I was going crazy – I was filling my water bottle at school seven times a day, and I was still thirsty. I was eating all the time, but losing weight.”

Her mom took her to the doctor, and Allie had her blood drawn. As soon as they got the results, Allie was rushed to the hospital – she had type 1 diabetes, and her blood sugar levels were off the charts.

 “I was really afraid,” she said.

But by day 4 at the hospital, having gotten her blood sugar to a more controlled level and learned how to administer insulin and check her levels, Allie was anxious to leave. “I had a soccer tournament!” she said.

Allie is a dedicated player for the team at James M. Bennett High School – and she has great support from her coach, who also happens to be her dad, Ed O’Leary.

Now that she has gotten used to life with type 1 diabetes, she’s not letting it hold her back. She continues to play soccer as well as lacrosse.

“It’s easy to manage,” she says. “My mom measures my food, and when I have a game, I always check by blood sugar before and after.”

Her mom, Alexis, says she admires how her daughter has adjusted to life with diabetes. “She’s shown such responsibility. She’s always been a great kid, and we are so proud of her.”

Her whole family supports her. Her sister, Madison, started a 5K in her honor – the Running on Insulin 5K has been held in Fruitland for the past two years, and all proceeds go to the American Diabetes Society. Allie runs it herself, of course.

She has some advice for kids or teens who get a diabetes diagnosis: “Don’t let it hold you back. Just because you’re different, it doesn’t mean you can’t lead a normal life.”

Joining her at the most recent 5K a few months ago was Hayley Dize – as well as Flora Glasgow, CRNP, who provides care for them at PRMC’s Pediatric Diabetes Clinic.

“We are so proud of Allie and Hayley and their successful management of diabetes, which allows them to be healthy, competitive athletes at the highest level.”

For information about pediatric diabetes care, contact the Pediatric Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 410-543-7480.

 Gwenn Garland is a Peninsula Regional Medical Center community relations specialist.

 

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