PIEDMONT (CBS 5) – Living with Type 1 Diabetes can be challenging — checking blood sugars, calculating insulin dosages – but Danielle Foreman doesn’t let it keep her down.

Thanks to an insulin pump on her hip, the 14-year-old high school freshman from Piedmont practices aerial acrobatics five days a week at the Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland. The device lets Danielle focus on her routine, without worrying about insulin injections.

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“I don’t believe that diabetes should be something that slows you down,” said Danielle, who also studies clowning. “I think it should make you stronger.”

Circus is in Danielle’s blood. Her great grandfather was a strongman in the Russian circus back in the early 1900’s.

“My passion is circus,” she said. “The troupe is your family. You want each other to succeed.”

And though diagnosed with diabetes before she was five, Danielle has refused to let the illness get in her way.

“Most diabetics struggle with the concept that they just want to be normal,” noted Danielle’s mother, Barbara Stewart. “I think Danielle blows that away. Why not be extra-ordinary?”

Danielle says she’s proud of how she’s responded to her diabetes, and she’s very appreciative of the insulin pump.

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”I can’t imagine doing any of this having to worry about giving myself insulin. I’m focused on staying up there – not on shots.”

Danielle may, in some respects, be mature beyond her years. Her father, Jeff Foreman, said Danielle has grown through battling diabetes.

“She’s very aware that her life is in her own hands on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis,” said Foreman.

But Danielle is also very happy being a teenager for now. As for where she’s headed, he said there’s time to figure it out, “but circus will always be a part of my life.”

Take a look at Danielle’s performance in the current show, Circus Differential:

Find out more about the show.

Here is a link to a bunch of pictures from the Show. Danielle is wearing an orange leotard with a yellow cumber bun or an orange tutu:

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