Mother sews up solution for her active diabetic daughter

EVERETT — Rylee Stark is a total fashionista, her wardrobe packed with pink leggings, sparkly dresses and headbands topped with feathers.

The 8-year-old’s favorite must-have fashion accessory does a lot more than make a statement on the playground.

It also discreetly holds her insulin pump.

Her mother, Corrie Stark, came up with the clothing design out of sheer frustration. She’s recently turned the idea into a fledgling online business called Rylee’s Pocket.

Rylee, a third-grader at Jefferson Elementary in Everett, is a type 1 diabetic. Last year she started using a pump, rather than syringes, to deliver insulin.

The pump helps keep Rylee’s blood sugars even but she and her family quickly became frustrated dealing with the medical device attached to her body.

The pump is about the size and shape of a pager, with a small tube that runs directly to an infusion site, usually on a person’s abdomen. Rylee’s pump is bubblegum pink.

Insulin pumps aren’t new technology, but they are becoming more widely used, especially among type 1 diabetics.

Rylee is an active girl and the pump kept falling out of her pocket and getting in the way when she played.

Then there was the added concern of the pump’s thin tube getting caught on something.

Her mom came up with a way to securely hold the pump: a special zippered pocket attached to the outside of a shirt. The design includes a small slit, so Rylee can thread the thin tube attached to the pump to the infusion site on her tummy.

The zippered pocket keeps the pump securely in place as Rylee twirls and skips through her days. Rylee said she feels comfortable dressing herself. She also likes the colorful squares of fabric her mom chose for the shirts.

“(My friends) loved them,” she said. “They wanted to buy one right away.”

Corrie Stark is trying out a variety of designs, including fabric choices and tank tops for boys. The tanks retail for $20 each.

They’re about to expand the offerings to adults. Rylee’s grandma, Sandy Welborn, wears the shirts now too. She also is a type 1 diabetic. Friday she modeled a trim black tank top with a matching black pocket for her pump.

The pockets are placed mainly on tank tops, which can be worn as a shirt or as an undergarment. Rylee usually wears hers under dresses or other shirts or to bed with pajama bottoms.

The business is just getting off the ground. Corrie Stark is working with her niece, Sarah Syvertsen, of Seattle. They’ve hired a seamstress to make the shirts.

Syvertsen, 22, used her social networking skills to bring media attention to the business, and the company already is getting more orders.

They’ve also gotten the attention of the American Diabetes Association, which expressed interest in working with the business.

“Not everyone with diabetes has a pump, but more and more people with type 1 diabetes are wearing them and this is a great way to keep it intact and concealed,” said Sarah Popelka, a fundraiser with the American Diabetes Association.

Right now, Rylee’s Pocket is working to donate 60 shirts to a summer camp for local children with diabetes.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197;

To buy

Find Rylee’s Pocket at

More in Local News

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Two windsurfers rescued from Port Susan near Kayak Point

The men had failed to return to shore during Sunday’s windstorm.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Coming together as family

Special-needs students and teachers at the Transition Center cooked up a Thanksgiving feast.

Lynnwood’s property tax promise to homeowners sort of true

They were told consolidation of fire departments would save, but new rates likely will be more.

Woman who died in 5-car crash identified

A car driven by Susan E. Sill rear-ended another vehicle Wednesday on Smokey Point Boulevard.

Most Read