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On The Mark
On the Mark is published three-times-a-year by the CHOC Foundation. It features patient highlights, physician spotlights, news about major gifts and upcoming events, construction updates, and fundraising stories and is mailed to donors who support CHOC with a gift of $50 and more.

Diabetes doesn't slow top ranked baseball player

Vinny Ponce started playing baseball when he was 5 and has loved the sport as long as he can remember. When he was only 12, he was named Most Valuable Player in the USSSA League. At 13, he was named the top player in the nation for his age group by Baseball America magazine, and his team won the USSSA League Elite World Series.

Throughout his career, Vinny has proven to be a star athlete with much promise, but something most people never realize about Vinny is that he has Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, a disorder where the body does not make enough of a hormone called insulin. When there is not enough insulin in the body, the amount of sugar in the blood reaches dangerously high levels. Untreated, diabetes is a life-threatening condition that can cause damage to virtually every organ in the body.

When Vinny was 7, his mother noticed him drinking a lot of water and using the bathroom more frequently. ?It was time for his annual checkup, so I brought him to see our family doctor. Within minutes they diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes. Our doctor told us to rush him to CHOC for immediate attention because his glucose (sugar) level was extremely high, which could lead to a dangerous condition in which the body begins to burn fat and muscle for energy,? she continued.

?We were astonished; neither my husband nor I have diabetes, and there is no history of Type 1 diabetes in our family,? Liz explains. ?At first it was really hard to accept. We wondered, ?What will happen to him? How will it affect the rest of his life???

Vinny?s doctors and nurses taught Liz how to check Vinny?s blood sugar levels and demonstrated how to give him daily shots of insulin. ?They used a piece of fruit to show Vinny how to inject himself with a needle. At first, he was not comfortable doing it, but after about a year it was something he wanted to do on his own,? Liz says.

Today, Vinny is a freshman at Marina High School in Huntington Beach and is starting catcher for his school?s baseball team, the Vikings. ?Most of his teammates don?t even know Vinny has diabetes,? says Liz. ?It?s just a non-issue in terms of his performance. Compared to our initial fears as to how diabetes would affect his life, we couldn?t be any happier with the outcome.?


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .