November is National Diabetes Month and it’s clear Abby Stavast, 9, wants to show the world she hasn’t let diabetes control her life, in fact, if anything, the opposite is true, especially when it comes to gymnastics.
“I like seeing all my friends that I don’t get to see a lot,” Abby, a Grade 4 student at Walnut elementary school said was her favourite part about being a member of the Saltos gymnastics club.
Participating in gymnastics, mom Becky Stavast explained, is a good thing as the exercise helps keep Abby’s blood sugar levels in the normal range.
Friendships aside, Abby’s favourite event in gymanstics is the balance beam.
Often seen as the scariest discipline, Abby admits there is a smidge of fear when she gets on the beam, but at the same time enjoys the technical aspect.
Abby began gymanstics at the age of three and diagnosed with diabetes two years later.
“I really didn’t care,” Abby said was her reaction to the diagnosis.
Sure, she has to poke her finger often to make sure her blood sugar is okay, but the toughest part about being diabetic, Abby said, is not being able to attend a sleepover at a friend’s house because her mom, Becky, needs to check her blood sugar in the middle of the night.
On the flip side, Abby points to opportunities that have come her way because she is diabetic.
“I got to meet George Canyon, twice,” she said with a big smile.
“I was pretty okay with it,” Becky said of the news Abby was diabetic.
“We’ve been able to manage Abby’s diabetes quite well.”
Becky, did admit school field trips caused concern, but said the staff at Walnut elementary school were outstanding in keeping an eye out on Abby and making sure there is a spare vehicle in case she needs to go to the hospital.
Making life a bit easier is the use of an insulin pump that eliminates the need to take insulin shots five or six times a day and allows Abby to eat when she wants.
“It’s gives her a lot more freedom,” Becky said.
“She can have birthday cake now and not have to worry about what it does to her blood sugar.”
As for the future, Abby has her sights firmly set on a career in gymanstics, as a coach, just like her mom.
Today, Nov. 14, is World Diabetes Day and Abby as well as other diabetics are at the Bulkley Valley Credit Union between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. selling hamburgers as a fundraiser for the Canadian Diabetes society.
Local diabetes educator Shelley Irvine is on hand to test your blood sugar and answer questions.
For information visit www.diabetes.ca, or www.whatacuremeans2me.com.