Diabetes helps motivate 10-year-old to be a better swimmer - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Diabetes helps motivate 10-year-old to be a better swimmer

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PHOENIX -

20,000 people will be out in Tempe this weekend, all hoping to end Diabetes.  It's the JDRF Walk, honoring Ron Santo and FOX 10 is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

His name is Anthony Poleo and he's a state champion. He's 10-years-old and not only does he not let his Diabetes slow him down, it's helped motivate him to become one of the state's best swimmers!

Poleo loves to swim, just like his father and they both had very good reasons to start.

"I was diagnosed with asthma at six. They said you need to swim or you need to run. I picked swimming. I used to get shots every week for my allergies and swimming builds your lungs so I started like, six or seven, kinda like [Anthony] did," said Tony Poleo.

Little did he know, a generation ago, he'd raise a son who'd become a state champion too.

Just a few weeks ago, at a swim meet in Anthem, Tony Poleo recorded his son setting a new state record for swimmers 10 and under in the 50 meter breast stroke.

"They called me up, so then I got on the block, I felt pretty awesome, I guess," said Anthony Poleo. "I felt nervous, but then when I got in the water, I just started going my fastest and I was out of breath and I looked at the time, and I got the state time."

Amazing, but not a surprise to his coach, who knew Anthony's Diabetes was limiting to one quarter the practice time of other swimmers.

It's been a remarkable journey for Anthony.  He wanted to play football and was one of the fastest guys on the field, but his father noticed that while the other kids were getting bigger, Anthony was getting skinnier.  Then, over the holidays, the family became concerned.  Anthony was thirsty all day and in the middle of the night.

Tony remembers one night in particular.

"I just woke up out of the blue and I just had a weird feeling...I went in and checked on him and he was low," said Tony Poleo.

"I was really tired, my eyes were all blurry, I just tested myself and I saw that I was low and then I had something to eat or I had something to drink, make my blood sugar go back up, said Anthony Poleo.

"He was at 47 and I just had a weird feeling. We just had a little chat and he's like well, we must be connected somehow, for me to feel that low," said Tony Poleo.

The doctor's diagnosis? Diabetes.  And on that day, life for this family changed.  Anthony's blood sugar has to be monitored through the day and night.

If blood sugar levels get too low, anyone with Diabetes can slip into a coma.  So Anthony and his parents have to keep track of where he's at constantly.

Someone without the disease would have a blood sugar reading closer to 80 or 90, but Anthony pulls out a syringe and injects himself with insulin several times a day.

We're proud to sponsor the walk and home you'll come out and join us this Saturday. 

JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes
Nov. 2
7:30am - Registration
9am - Walk begins
Tempe Town Lake
80 West Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ
www.jdrf.org

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