COLUMBIA — The basketball courts of the MU Student Recreation Complex echo with the sounds of fingers snapping, feet tapping the ground and various styles of music as each of the 10-12 dance teams participating in the National Dance Association Dance Camp practice their routines. The Eureka High School dance team, dressed in pink shorts and black tops, dances together, blending together as one.
Yet one girl stands out from the rest of the team. She proudly dances with her pink insulin pump outside of her pink shorts.
Senior Danielle Scheetz has been dancing for the past 10 years and has been on the Eureka dance team since she tried out last year. She has been diabetic only two years longer than she has been dancing.
“I was going to try out my sophomore year, but I was in the hospital because of my kidneys,” Scheetz said.
When Scheetz was nine, she got the insulin pump, which she still wears today. Although it helps her manage her diabetes, she is still affected by dancing sometimes.
“It helps if my blood sugar is high, dancing helps bring it down.” Scheetz said. “But if it’s low, I have to stop dancing and eat.”
Scheetz said that often times if her blood sugar is high she’ll go practice dancing so that she can bring it down fast. Yet, she said, if her blood sugar gets too high it affects her muscles and she feels cramped and doesn’t want to move.
Not only is Scheetz living with diabetes, but she also has two slowly failing kidneys. Scheetz’s doctors have told her that if she does get a kidney transplant, they will also give her a pancreas transplant because that would pretty much cure her diabetes.
With two failing kidneys, Scheetz is prone to infections. She said some can be treated with oral medications, but others force her to be hospitalized.
Her kidneys also affect her when she’s dancing. She said that she gets tired easily and has to get more rest than most people. She also said that it affects her bladder. Her bladder does not send a message to her brain telling her that she needs to go to the bathroom.
Since it takes her bladder longer to send the message to her brain, her urine backs up into her kidneys, which causes more problems with them.
Kara Mueller, coach for the Eureka High School dance team, said that this time last year at camp, Scheetz wasn’t managing herself well and ended up having to sit out a lot and rest. This year, however, Scheetz said she is resting more and making sure she doesn’t overwork herself at camp.
Mueller said that Scheetz performs well and works as hard as she can without putting herself into a hospital.
“She has just a lot of heart. She never uses it as an excuse to not do something or try something.” Mueller said. “It breaks her heart not to dance, so she does everything she can to keep dancing and stay healthy.”