Diabetes not slowing down young Missoula dancer

Posted at 3:40 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:49:23-04

MISSOULA – From finger pricks to insulin shots to dinner time math –managing diabetes is just a way of life for millions of Americans.

But ongoing advancements in technology are proving invaluable especially for active kids who can now manage the disease with help from their phones.

Middle school student Ava Tooke is 14 years old and does it all — ballet, tap and modern contemporary dance.

She’s at the studio five days a week and unless you looked closely, you’d never notice the small device stuck to her arm.

Ava is diabetic — a diagnosis that came out of the blue just last year.

“She actually came home to me one day from PE class and said we did our body weights and BMI’s or whatever and she’s like, I weigh 12 pounds less than I did in sixth grade and she’s like, isn’t that weird?  That doesn’t actually seem weird that sounds wrong,” Ava’s mom Stephanie Neumayer said.

Ava Tooke Diabetes Managment
Ava Tooke, 14, isn’t letting diabetes slow her down. She does it all — ballet, tap and modern contemporary dance. (MTN News photo)

Ava wears a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor to help her manage her Type One diabetes. It measures her glucose levels and sends those readings via Bluetooth to her phone every five minutes.

The monitor also talks to her insulin pump that administers or restricts insulin as needed — and if Ava doesn’t notice if her blood sugar is up or down, her parents and teachers will through an alert sent to them through a phone app. So she’s not managing this alone.

“They’re always texting me and calling me and alarms going off at school,” Ava said.

She likes that these devices eliminate the finger pokes and shots which hurt and can interfere with a busy lifestyle.

Dexcom G5 Diabetes Managment
A Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor helps Ava manage her diabetes. (MTN News photo)

“Her fingers were so sore all the time and this was approved so you can do that — you can actually make dosing without double checking your finger,” explained Neumayer.

“The Dexcom really doesn’t hurt so I can roll around on the ground and I can do whatever the same as I used to,” Ava said.

For Ava, a life-altering diagnosis is made more manageable with high tech help — technology more and more diabetics are using to keep them on an even keel.

It certainly is helping Ava stay healthy so she can keep on dancing.

Technology to help manage diabetes continues to evolve and now includes glucose monitors that give blood sugar levels in real time.

Reporting by Jill Valley for MTN News