Emily Newton, a seventh-grader at Pacific Trails Middle, recently got to experience an NFL game from the sidelines as an honorary Chargers Girl. Emily helped root for the home team during the Sunday, Oct. 25, match-up with the rival Oakland Raiders.
Emily’s mother, Beth, won the opportunity for her daughter at a charity event for the Ronald McDonald House. Beth was happy to support Ronald McDonald House, as the facility had helped her family so much when Emily was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 2 1/2 years ago.
“We really made use of the Ronald McDonald House. To have that place to go to, with such caring people and a caring environment, it really meant a lot,” Beth said.
Since being diagnosed, Emily has had to grow accustomed to a whole new way of life.
“It’s a 24/7 disease — you have to think about it every second,” Beth said. “You cannot control diabetes, you can only manage it.”
Emily has two devices to help manage her disease: a Dexcom glucose monitor and an OmniPod that dispenses insulin. The Dexcom system allows Beth to monitor Emily’s levels at any time using her cellphone, whether she’s at school or on the field at an NFL game. It sounds an alarm if her blood sugar spikes, making it a great tool for parents.
“It’s hard at times, and sometimes you don’t want to do it anymore,” Emily said of managing her diabetes. “For me, something that helps with my shots and pricks and tests is to tell myself ‘just get it over with.’ It’s much harder if you wait.”
Emily’s special Sunday began with getting her hair and makeup professionally done at Qualcomm Stadium — perhaps her favorite part of the day.
Before hitting the field, Emily was part of a pre-game ritual, linking arms in a circle of 28 Charger Girls who then went over the game plan, got pumped up and prayed.
“It was pretty fun,” Emily said. “Then we rushed out onto the field through the entrance with fire and explosions, and then the players came out.”
Emily got to stay on the field for the game’s first half and enjoyed watching the Charger Girls in action as well as the play on the field. She had a close call when Bolts linebacker Donald Butler came charging toward her on the sidelines and she had to hurry out of the way.
“They’re so humongous, “ Emily said of the players. “On TV you don’t get to see how big they are but when you’re standing right next to them, they’re monstrous.”