Overcoming obstacles

Competing at a national level is a dream come true for many young athletes but that goal can be a lot harder to achieve when you live with a disease like diabetes.

Most of the athletes with Tumble Tech have been practicing for years. They've been working for hours to stick that perfect landing.

Natalie Rogers has been into the sport since she was five. 

Julie Rogers, Natalie's mom, says, "She had a lot of energy so we were just looking for something fun for her to do. She fell in love with cheering and tumbling."

But at just seven, Julie noticed a big change in Natalie.

"She seemed really tired, really lethargic. She drank a lot of water, which you would think is normal in Texas because it's really hot, but just over time we started to realize just something wasn't right," Julie says.

Natalie was taken to the ER where doctors eventually diagnosed her with Type 1 diabetes. She wears an insulin pump under her suit that connects to a meter which helps her calculate how much insulin she needs.

The system is connected to the cell phones of her parents and friends so if Natalie's blood sugar gets too low or too high, and she doesn't notices, others can come to the rescue.

"I do not let diabetes define me because its something that I have but it's also something that is controllable  and I can fix," Natalie says. "I can tumble and I can play with my friends. I can do whatever I want as long as I take care of myself."

Even though Natalie and her team are focused on an upcoming competition, Natalie says she already has some big plans for the future.

"I want to go to college and get a scholarship. I also want to get on an Olympic team when I get older and go to the Olympics," Natalie says.

And Julie hopes others will hear Natalie's story and have the same kind of determination.

Julie says, "I hope that folks realize whatever challenge you have to overcome in your life you should continue to move forward and pursue your dreams."

Julie also says she hopes others will notice the symptoms of diabetes instead of mistaking them for the flu which is what commonly happens. Symptoms include:

  • Being abnormally thirsty and hungry
  • Feeling extreme fatigue
  • Urinating often
  • Blurry vision

If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms you should contact your physician.

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