Athlete with diabetes? You deserve an award.

Welcome to November 1st, the first day of Diabetes Awareness Month, 2013. World Diabetes Day is once again scheduled for November 14th, which is a Thursday. There will be many happenings this month, which I will do my best to keep track of over the next few weeks.

You know, every year around this time, I see blog posts and Twitter conversations filled with “What are you going to do this year for Diabetes Awareness Month or World Diabetes Day?”. And to me, that question is always kind of intimidating. I mean yeah, it’s helpful to remember that one thing at a time is important, and small changes can have a big impact. But when I hear that question this time of year, I don’t hear “What are you doing?” as much as I’m hearing “What big, gargantuan thing are you doing that will wow the masses?”.

Well, I don’t know if this will wow the masses. But it’s an idea that came to me a few weeks ago, and I’m going to try it and see if it gets any traction. If it does, great. If not, no big deal.

What am I talking about? I’m glad you asked!

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I am constantly in awe of athletes with diabetes. Not just the ones that climb Everest or run the Sahara desert. I’m also in awe of those people who get up and make a commitment to exercise, and keep going, despite how our bodies initially respond to said exercise, and in some cases, what years of insulin, and diabetes in general, does to our bodies (raising my hand here). Seriously, as an athlete prior to and after my diagnosis, I can tell you that it is waaaay more difficult to start and maintain exercise as a Person With Diabetes. It can be both scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

Yet, competing in events and going to the gym generally means you’re competing for the fun of it. No prize money, no podiums, you get the idea. Very few events give out awards or medals to anything lower than the top three finishers, if they give out anything at all. But the efforts of all of us are worthy of recognition and support. If you finish your first 5K run, if you ride your bike 50 miles, if you get up and hit the trails for a week when you haven’t gone for years, you’re a champion in my book. And I want to give you a medal.

Your effort as an Athlete With Diabetes should be recognized and rewarded.

So I had this crazy idea to see how much it would cost to have medals produced. They aren’t Olympic medals, but they turned out nicer than I thought they would. And I thought the blue ribbon was a nice touch.

Maureen and I sat around this week and came up with a few simple rules for getting your medal. You are encouraged to send a request if you are an Athlete With Diabetes, a spouse or partner of an AWD (see what I did there?), or an awesome parent of a kid Athlete With Diabetes.

1. The athlete receiving the award must be living with diabetes.

2. The athletic event must have taken place in the last six months. For now, we’re going with a pretty loose interpretation of the word “event”. If you feel you’ve accomplished something important to you, that’s an event. ‘Nuf said.

3. Send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Let me know if you don’t want me to use any names.

4. When you receive your medal, you need to post a photo of it around the athlete’s neck. You can send a Tweet to @ChampsWithD (hashtag: #champdathletes) or post it on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes Facebook Page.

Those are the only rules so far, though I reserve the right to change them as this thing develops. Not to make it more restrictive. To make it more fun.

I have all of 24 medals to send out. If this idea takes off, I’ll order more. If not, we’ll all forget about it by December.

So instead of asking what big thing you’re doing this month, I’m asking: What big athletic goal did you complete? Send me your e-mail today.
 
 
 

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