One on 1 with a Rising Ballerina

Welcome to JDRF Bay Area’s blog, One on 1, a series of interviews with people who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Members of the community talk about how T1D affects them, how they manage it, and what they have accomplished despite it. Today we talk with Alexis, a 4th grader at Stratford School in San Francisco. She studies dance and has been a proud student of the San Francisco Ballet for the last three years:

JDRF Bay Area: When did you start dancing? What do you enjoy most about it?

Alexis: I started dancing at three and knew that I would dance forever. I loved dancing because I made lots of friends and the teachers were very kind to everyone. Dancing makes me feel very happy, excited, and like I have special powers.

JDRF Bay Area: How old were you when you were diagnosed with T1D? What do you remember from that time?

Alexis: I was diagnosed with T1D when I was six years old. I was having a sleepover at my grandparents’ house when my grandma noticed something was wrong because I was pausing the cartoon too often to go use the restroom. My mom and dad took me to the hospital first thing in the morning and I was diagnosed right away and had to stay at the hospital for several days. I was scared of shots and I thought that something scary was going to happen to me.

JDRF Bay Area: Dancing is so athletic – how do you manage your T1D during rehearsals and performances?

Alexis: During performances, I measure after we get our costumes on and if I am feeling low any other time, I measure and take a glucose. I usually feel my low blood sugars and ask the teacher to go in the hall and get a glucose. All my friends watch out for me when I’m dancing.

JDRF Bay Area: Congratulations on being cast in the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker! What was your role and what was that like?

Alexis: I was a clown in the Nutcracker and it was very fun and everyone got tired a lot, but I made new friends and I got in the Nutcracker which were my two goals.

JDRF Bay Area: What are your dreams for the future?

Alexis: In the future I want to be a famous ballerina and play the role of Clara in the Nutcracker.

JDRF Bay Area: We know you can do it! What do you want people to know about T1D?

Alexis: I want people to know that T1D does not stop you from doing anything like achieving your goals and dreams.