Berrie Center Patient Hailey Cavuoto Thrives Through Competitive Cheerleading

Having type 1 diabetes (T1D) doesn’t stop Hailey Cavuoto, age 11, from soaring high. Hailey is a 6th grader at Somers Middle School in Somers, New York. She is also a competitive cheerleader who loves to perform. Hailey (and her supportive mom) spent a minute of her precious time with us to share what it takes to manage her T1D while flipping and flying on stage.

Hailey Cavuoto

BC: At what age were you diagnosed with T1D?
Hailey: I was diagnosed when I was 8, at the end of 3rd grade.

BC: What is your cheerleading schedule?
Hailey: I have cheer every day except Fridays. I cheer on two teams, one for my town and an all-star team. On Sundays, I have obligations for both teams so it’s a long day.

BC: How hard (or easy) is it to manage your blood sugars while you are cheering?
Hailey: I check my blood sugar every time I get water. When I am excited or nervous my numbers go up so I usually need a correction during practice. I also used to go high at competition and would have to take extra insulin. But, as soon as practice or competitions are over I drop fast. Dr. Kristen Williams helped me figure out how to keep my numbers more steady with a temp basal.

BC: What are your favorite low blood sugar treatments?
Hailey: I always have 15g carb juice boxes and pixie sticks with me. We also always have icing gel, which I had to eat for the first time this summer. I was in the ocean on a floating inflatable bounce house and I started dropping low very fast. Luckily, my dad had the icing gel in his pocket and I was able to eat some of it and get my number up higher to swim back to the shore.

BC: Any advice for other kids with T1D who are interested in cheerleading?
Hailey: We can do any sport that we want, we just have to figure out how our blood sugar is affected. I always leave extra supplies at my cheer gym in case I forgot something at home. Make sure your coaches know about your diabetes. I have had the same all-star coach for three years so she tells me to check my number if I look off. My teammates also know why I am taking a break if I have to.

BC: Mom, what is your strategy to keeping Hailey on track?
Jackie: I monitor Hailey’s blood glucose wherever she is with the use of a continuous glucose monitor. If she is going low or high and misses the alert, I call or text her. Competition days are often long and many venues don’t allow outside food. I always carry a letter from the doctor stating that she needs access to her food.

BC: Does the high level of competition make you nervous?
Jackie: When Hailey was diagnosed I went to every practice and sat through it in case she needed something. The first competition after diagnosis and (two days after being released from the hospital) I followed her team and checked her blood sugar a ridiculous amount of times. Her team placed 2nd at that competition and it gave me a sense of relief that everything was going to be all right.

BC: How are things going for Hailey this season?
Jackie: This season, two years later, Hailey competed at a national competition on her diaversary and again placed 2nd. I am beyond proud of her, her accomplishments, and how she never lets T1D hold her back.

Congrats, Hailey. The Berrie Center is proud of you, too!