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[IP] NW Florida Kids "livin the good life"(insulin pump)

 <A HREF="http://www.nwfdailynews.com/today/newshel1.html">Northwest Florida 
Daily News</A> (there's a picture of all the children on the webpage)

Livin' the Good Life 
•Insulin pumps give area kids more freedom 
by PEGGY MAY, Daily News Senior Staff Writer 

The bionic man had his day.

Now it's time for seven local diabetic kids to show off their 
wave-of-the-future medical technology.

They range in age from 3 1/2 to 17, and they now have much better 
control of the ups and downs of their blood sugar as they go through 
their days - in school, sports, musical activities, and just hanging out 
with friends.

Their small insulin pumps are programmed on a 24-hour basis, customized 
for each person's needs, lifestyle, and the severity of the disease.

The pump activates a cannula (small tube) that's inserted beneath the 
skin to deliver micro doses of insulin, a regimen that's easier than 
injections and also more proactive and responsive to what's going on in 
the patient's life and body.

Five of the children are patients of a pediatric endocrinologist in 
Tallahassee. Two have area physicians.

•Griffin Dalton, diagnosed at age 2, is now 11. He's been on the pump 
for six years. He runs cross country and plays trombone for the Meigs 
Middle School band and also is involved in Senior Pee Wee Football in 
Shalimar. He'd like to become a doctor.

•Christine Benson, diagnosed at age 7, is now 11. She's been on the pump 
for four years. Her passion is riding horses, and she's also involved in 
her church choir and in the band at her school, First Baptist Academy in 
Destin. Her ambition is to become a competitive rider.

•Bryan Griffin, diagnosed at age 2, is now 17. He's been on the pump for 
two years. Bryan is involved in soccer at Niceville High School and he 
also loves to surf. He wants to be a doctor.

•John Doolin, diagnosed at age 12, is now 17. He's been on the pump for 
three years. He's an active member of the wrestling team at Fort Walton 
Beach High School. He wants to be a doctor, specializing in treatment of 

•Emily Bradley, diagnosed at age 7, is now 17. She's been on the pump 
three months. She's a member of the honor society at Choctawhatchee High 
School, plays flute in the school band, and is also a ham radio 
operator. She hopes to become an engineer.

•Rebecca Akers, diagnosed at age 7, is now 8. She's been on the pump for 
just a few weeks. She performs in plays at Edge Elementary School, and 
also sings and loves to swim and bike. She wants to be a veterinarian.

•Nathan Hobbs, diagnosed at 12 months, is now 3 1/2. He enjoys bike 
riding, deer hunting with his dad, working on his farm, and fishing. 
When he grows up, he "wants to be a chicken truck driver, like my 

The parents as well as the kids welcome the freedom and flexibility that 
the pump provides.

"Diabetes is the thinking man's disease," says Anna Dalton, mother of 

"Ask any mom with a child who has diabetes. She will give it to you 
straight. That insulin pump gives us the edge we need to help us help 
our kids live a good life."

All of the kids except the two older boys have the cannula inserted in 
their lower back.

Bryan has his on his hip and John has his in his leg.

Other sites could be the arms or stomach, the children said.

At the beginning the school year, Rebecca's mother went to her class to 
explain how the pump worked.

"I wasn't sure if they were going to tease me," Rebecca said.

"Yesterday, a little boy asked me how I got diabetes. I told him about 
genes from my parents and that my little sister has a good chance of 
getting it."

A friend asked Rebecca how it felt to be the only one in the class to 
have diabetes.

"If you feel pitiful and sorry for yourself, you feel left out," said 
Rebecca, who far from feeling sorry for herself, explains the whole 
situation in a very mature way.

For Emily, it's not necessary to share knowledge of her pump with 

"I keep it in my pocket. My friends know," the quiet, smiling 
17-year-old said.

Christine and Griffin both have some problems with playing their musical 
instruments when their blood sugar goes too high.

"You mess up if you have high blood sugar. It's hard to concentrate," 
said Griffin, a trombone player.

"When my blood sugar is up, I'm not playing well. I can't concentrate on 
my music and the keys," Christine said.

What's a normal blood sugar?

For Christine, it's anywhere around 100. Rebecca said normal for her is 
from 80 to 100.

Several of the children did their finger pricks and checked their blood 
sugar during the interview to explain how their pumps worked. Even 
little Nathan did it without flinching.

Bryan said he takes his pump off when he plays soccer.

"There's no pocket in my soccer shorts."

John said during wrestling practice he keeps his on, but during matches 
he takes it off.

Christine takes hers off during horse shows.

They change the cannulas every few days or sooner if needed.

When Emily's was first inserted, she had thought it would hurt, but with 
the use of a numbing cream, there was no pain.

Sometimes the pump alarms wake the kids up when the battery gets low or 
they've inadvertently pushed a button in their sleep, but having the 
pump on doesn't normally affect sleep, they said.

•Staff Writer Peggy May can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 434 or 
email @ redacted 
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