WHEN song-and-dance girl Chloe Dargue takes to the stage of the Darlington Civic Theatre in April no-one will know she will be relying on a hidden insulin pump to keep her jiving.
The 23-year-old drama graduate, from Yarm, has had type one diabetes since she was three and usually has to inject herself with insulin five or six times every day to keep her blood sugar levels regular.
But in April, when she will appear as a chorus girl in the Darlington Operatic Society's production of Grease, she will be able to forget about the injections and throw herself into the shows spectacular dance routines.
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This is all due to a little known, but increasingly popular, miniturised device worn close to the body which releases a steady stream of insulin into the bloodstream.
Loaded with tiny cartridges, the device trickles insulin down a very thin tube and into the body, mimicking the body's own gradual release of the vital hormone.
Chloe, who has been assessed by her doctors as being suitable for an insulin pump, is looking forward to her new freedom.
"I do an awful lot of dancing and they said I would really benefit from it," she said.
"Normally, injections don't really both me, even though you do turn into a bit of pin-cushion. When I get the pump it will be a case of thank 'God, I don't have to go through that rigmarole."
Chloe, who worked as a body double for Hollywood actress and namesake Chloe Moretz during the making of the film Hugo, said: "It just means that when I do Grease I don't have to get in and out of my costume to inject. It can be really discreet."
She hopes that going public about the pump will raise awareness and understanding of diabetes, which affects around three million people in the UK.
"Unfortunately, I don't think many people understand diabetes and the difference between type one and type two. My mission during 2014 is to be more open with people about my own diabetes," she said.
Libby Dowling, clinical advisor with Diabetes UK, said insulin pumps could be a boon to the right person, but patients had to meet strict criteria before they could be prescribed on the NHS.
To buy an insulin pump privately would cost around £2,000 plus £1,000 a year in consumables.
- Grease performed by the Darlington Operatic Society will run from April 2 to April 12. Tickets are available by calling 01325-244659 or by visiting darlingtonos.org.uk