Adrian, with the heart of a Champion Athlete With Diabetes.

I received an e-mail last month from Janette Fernandez in Miami. The subject of the e-mail was:

My Little Champion

How can you not love a headline like that? I just knew this was going to be a good story. And it is.
Adrian was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was just two years old. That was ten years ago. He recently turned 12, and his dedication to working out, staying fit, and achieving his athletic goals is very Champion-like. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve read about yet. In Janette’s words:

”He practiced TKD (Tae Kwon Do) for many years after his dx. Now that he is in middle school he found out that he loves running. He participated on the XC (Cross Country) team for his school. He is not the fastest kid for sure, but he works really hard to be better every day. He also does Crossfit, and he comes to work out every day with me at 6 am. He is committed to be strong and there is not one day where he ever put D as an excuse.”

Last November, Adrian completed his local Battlefrog Series event (look it up) at historic Virginia Key Beach Park, where he participated twice (twice!) in a race with 27 obstacles. Oh yeah, he’s a tough guy all right. Tae Kwon Do? Cross Country? Crossfit workouts at six in the morning? I’d settle for half of Adrian’s accomplishments to date.

Way to go, Adrian. You’ve got the body, heart, and soul of a Champion Athlete With Diabetes.
Okay, that’s three so far this week… and there are still three more to tell you about. Want to add your name to the list? If you’re achieving athletic goals while living with diabetes, or someone close to you fits that description, click here to find out how to get your medal minted today.

Champion Athlete With Diabetes: Zoe from New Zealand.

Working hard through adversity and achieving your athletic goals in addition to living with diabetes is a difficult and extraordinary thing. Today’s Champion Athlete With Diabetes is a prime example of that.
Our medal winner this time also gets the award (for now, anyway) of living the farthest away from me. Zoe Sole lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and her friend Carrie Hetherington sent me the nicest note:
Hi Stephen,

Despite having diabetes myself and working out, I would actually like to nominate one of my friends, Zoe Sole.

Zoe is 23 and has had type 1 diabetes for 14 years, and she is one of the most inspirational and motivated people I know. She had to face 12 months of physical rehab training and also diabetes complications out of her control over the period of this year, but in true form she has completely turned everything around and aced everything, building back her muscle capacity. She still does some rehab work and it will take a while to completely get back to normal, but she is back to doing her extreme Crossfit and extra training on top of that. She works out every single day and lifts colossal weights, does gymnastics, swimming, half marathons etc

This is all on top of studying towards her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery here in New Zealand.

Basically, her athleticism and sheer determination with a positive attitude are beyond belief, she also manages to fit time in for her friends and others with diabetes.

I don’t think anyone could ask for more in a Champion Athlete with Diabetes. I would love to see her rewarded for the hard 24/7 work she puts into her training, and the impeccable blood sugars she has (she aims for perfection and she absolutely gets it!).

Kind regards,

Carrie Hetherington
I don’t think I can elaborate on that any better. Living with diabetes is no fun. But working hard, persevering through the times when your body wants to quit, making your fitness the best it can be right now—that is special.

So I salute you Zoe! You are an inspirational example of what this effort is all about. And by the way, your friend Carrie is pretty nice to send in this request on your behalf.

Are you living with diabetes? Are you staying active? Would you like a medal?

I encourage you to click here, find out more, and send me an e-mail today.

Champion Athlete With Diabetes: Seth the Lifeguard.

I have no less than six Champion Athletes With Diabetes to talk about. So I thought, why not tell their stories over an entire week? Okay, I can’t promise that I’ll get all of these in during this week, but I will tell them one by one. Mostly by giving you what was written by friends and relatives.

First up: Seth the Lifeguard.

Seth lives just outside of Dallas, Texas. His Mom, Cassie, writes at the blog KDA not DKA. Seth was diagnosed with diabetes at age 16 two years ago. He’s been a lifeguard since before his diagnosis, and last year he participated in lifeguard competitiion, but his team didn’t place in the event.

But that was last year. This year, Seth’s team won their regional competition, and that meant a trip to the state championship! At state they placed 9th overall. Not bad for a team that had never competed at that level before. According to Cassie,

“During both competitions, blood sugar management was difficult but Seth handled it like a true champ. During the state competition, his blood sugar spiked pretty high for him, then crashed after it was over. Adrenaline was a huge factor, I’m sure. He is planning to return to the state competition next year and win!”

Cassie has a more detailed description of this exciting event on her blog.

Did I mention that Seth’s Dad is also living with diabetes? One of his team members also has a father with Type 1. So it’s a family victory, and well earned.

Seth is on the far left.

Seth’s team (Seth is on the far left)

Congratulations Seth! Thanks for never giving up, and for proving again how someone living with diabetes can really do anything.
So… I’m in the process of ordering more medals. That means I’ll be ready to send your medal when you write me. If you, or the special person in your life has been reaching their athletic goals while living with diabetes too, you should click here to find out more, and send me an e-mail today.

Resolutions, Schmesolutions.

Happy New Year! Congratulations on making it through 2014.

Like the title of this post suggests, I am NOT a big resolution person. For evidence, check out last year’s edition (there wasn’t one). That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals and dreams. It just means that I try to focus on them as they come up, rather than just at the beginning of the year.

There were certainly things I wanted to accomplish last year. And I did accomplish them. Well, some of them anyway. To be honest, I feel really awful about the things I did not achieve. Worse, in fact, than I feel good about the things I did cross off of my list. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not, but I know it keeps me trying, wanting to do more.

I suppose I shouldn’t forget that some of the things I experienced in the past year were special, and inspiring, and totally unexpected. Guess what? We have now given away 25 medals to Champion Athletes With Diabetes! I’ve gone through my initial order of twenty-five, and it’s time to order more. That’s a good thing, right?

I was also able to travel to Orlando in July for MasterLab, where I learned a lot and expanded my diabetes advocacy brain beyond its previously imagined limits. I was interviewed by one of my local TV stations and by one of Politico’s eHealth Newsletter reporters. I got to speak at a public workshop on interoperability of diabetes devices hosted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. I never saw any of that coming at the beginning of last year.

Still, as I mentioned above, there are things I set out to do that I didn’t accomplish in 2014. That doesn’t mean I’ll never accomplish them. Or that I’ll ever accomplish them. That’s all unknown, until I either do or don’t complete them. But in a way, I like the idea that there is a lot still unknown… about diabetes, about my life, about this blog, about all of you. I love the idea of opening up and exploring the possibilities as we begin the new year.
In the end, I want to ask myself the same questions I ask a lot of bloggers:

– Are you happy?

– Do you like writing? How does it make you feel? Do you want to keep writing?

– If you could do anything, or write about anything, what would it be?

I also want to remember what I tell many bloggers too:

– Remember the impact you have on others. There is no possible way you can overstate that. Don’t ever sell yourself short.

– What you are doing is not nothing (I know, double negative). Even if it’s just for yourself.
I hope your 2015 is full of joy and excitement, and most of all, happiness. Last year, my mantra was:

I support you… no conditions.

I hope I’ve lived up to that. I’d like to hang onto that for a while longer, if that’s okay with you. And if I have to come up with something to add to that this year, let it be this:

Everyone is important, and that includes you!

You’re still part of everyone, right? I thought so. Here’s to a spectacular, record-breaking 2015!

So Worthy: Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation.

With the end of the year approaching, I wanted to write a few blog posts with the idea of pointing you toward some important (to me, anyway) diabetes organizations.

I recognize that JDRF and the American Diabetes Association are important non-profits that deserve your support as well. But I want to dedicate these posts to other organizations that are doing important work to further the cause and improve the lives of everyone living with diabetes.

If you have a few dollars left at the end of the year, consider making a donation to these worthy organizations.

One other thing: I was not asked to write nor am I getting anything for writing about these groups.

Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation

Originally started as Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (hence the #DSMA hashtag), the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation officially became a non-profit organization in 2012.

Founded by Cherise Shockley, DCAF is meant to connect people living with and affected by diabetes, both through social media and in real life. It is everything its name suggests, but it is so much more than that too. Its outreach is many and varied, encompassing initiatives that are well known and not so well known, including:

DSMA Twitter Chats: Every Wednesday night at 9:00 eastern time here in the USA, friends from around the world get together via Twitter and discuss diabetes. Actually, they discuss their lives, with diabetes as a common thread. But of course, it’s way more than that. There are usually questions and answers surrounding a common topic, and there are questions (and answers) from individuals logging on. With a ton of laughter and encouragement thrown in for good measure. For many, this is the gateway to the rest of the Diabetes Online Community, and for that alone, it’s worth a contribution to DCAF. It always leaves me feeling so happy that I stayed up for it. If you haven’t already, you’re encouraged to join the conversation by following the @DiabetesSocMed Twitter account or the #DSMA hashtag.

DSMA Live, DSMA Live En Vivo, and DSMA ‘Rents Podcasts: Using a various lineup of amazing hosts, DSMA Live (Thursdays at 9:00 ET), DSMA En Vivo (in Spanish every other Tuesday at 9:00 ET), and DSMA ‘Rents (every other Monday at 9:00 ET) take an hour to focus on one topic or one person. Whether it’s diabetes research, a new D initiative, managing your diabetes, diabetes and exercise, or special and unique events in the diabetes world, these three podcasts will keep you informed and educated. And of course, you’re encouraged to phone in and be part of the talk too. Find out more on any of these and connect to the podcasts by going to the DCAF page on Blog Talk Radio.

Blue Fridays: A simple way to spread awareness and show support for those living with diabetes, DCAF has been the leader of the Blue Fridays initiative. You’re encouraged to Think Blue – Wear Blue every Friday and on World Diabetes Day. There’s even a Facebook page. It’s an easy way to get your advocacy on each and every week.

Those are just some of the unique ideas that have come from this passionate organization. The recently retired DSMA Blog Carnival and some in-person DSMA Live events are a couple of additional highlights. DCAF is an organization that is not afraid to try something new, not afraid to look toward the next horizon if there’s a way to support and uplift People With Diabetes. If there’s a way to connect people living with and affected by diabetes, Cherise is interested in making it happen.

Would you like to help make it happen? To make a donation to Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation, simply go here and click on the Donate button:
Disclosure: In the past, I’ve written Blog Carnival posts for DCAF, and more recently, I’ve been honored to moderate a few installments of the weekly DSMA Twitter chat. Strictly pro bono… I am not compensated in any way for doing so.


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