The Steelers Running Back and Defensive End is Battling Type 1 Diabetes
On Friday, April 12, 2019, the Riverside Under Armour – Under the Lights K-2 Flag Football Team – the Steelers (3-0), will be playing a double-header against the also undefeated Raiders, then against the 1-2 Rams.
Unique to the Riverside Under the Lights Flag Football League is that their wide receiver, running back and defensive end is Gracie Sevilla. Not only is she the lone girl and youngest player in the league, Gracie is battling Type 1 Diabetes, which was, recently diagnosed last year.
Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable auto-immune disease that affects mostly children from 4 years old and rarely strikes adults. Type 1 Diabetes is thought to be triggered by viruses/illnesses common to school aged children (RotoVirus, Foot and Mouth, etc) who have the genetic markers of Type 1 Diabetes. It causes the Pancreas to fight against its own beta cells and shut down partially, then entirely, rendering the Pancreas useless to produce life saving Insulin.
Gracie, whose blood glucose levels have dipped to deadly levels (31 mg/dl) or has risen to deadly levels (600 + mg/dl), plays with a continuous glucose monitoring device affixed to her thigh. This device sends a reading to her father, mom and school teachers & nurses by a cell phone APP, alerting them of both highs and lows.
The device is a Dexcom G6 and her father, Tommy Sevilla, the teams head coach of two years, keeps the receiver in his pocket as he coaches the kids; including Gracie, on the playing field.
Gracie was recently featured in Insulin Nation and on both Los Angeles TV Channels 2 and 9 news regarding her Type 1 Diabetes and athletic prowess. Gracie also excels in Baseball, Soccer and Basketball. She currently stars for the Jurupa Valley Single A – Angels Baseball Team as an infielder and power hitter.
As a soccer player, Gracie was the leading scorer on her Riverside Parks & Recreation team. As a Basketball Player she recently made a long shot from the baseline area of the adult basketball court in a Parks & Recreation game at Reid Park.
Her parents have set up a GoFundMe Page to help with the expenses for her Service Dog. The family will travel to Utah in August to help train them together and bring the puppy home.
Gracie has already named the dog “Kaj”. It’s Armenian for “brave” in honor of her dad’s business partner and close friend. He’s Armenian and has been a generous donor and strong supporter of her “Grace for the Cure Campaign” to help bring about Type 1 Diabetes awareness .
Diabetic Alert Dogs are specially trained dogs that alert the affected person and those around them of impending highs and lows, a full 15 minutes before a CGM like the Dexcom G6 or other man-made technologies. They can even sense and alert from many miles away when they are away from their owners; such as when Gracie is in school.
The upcoming football game on Friday against the Raiders is a league showcase game. We wish the best for Gracie.