Tag Archives: athletes

Let’s hold our own Gold Medal Ceremony.

It’s Summer Olympics time! And what does everyone at the Olympics want?
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That’s right… we all want our very own gold medal.

Guess what? If you’re a Person With Diabetes, or you know someone living with diabetes, and said PWD is staying active, achieving athletic goals, I have a gold(colored) medal to award them.

Let’s face it: right now is the time when most of us are most active. Have you been running a 5k? Running every week? Walking every day? Getting on your bike and putting pavement behind you?

You don’t have to be like the NASCAR driver, or the member of the USA Women’s Curling team who have been awarded medals. You can be someone who takes a boxing class, is a ballroom dancer, or a runner, or a kid who loves to play basketball. Or, like a recent winner, you run a half marathon in a tutu. Regardless of your sport, whatever your level of skill, there is a medal waiting for you.

Why should the athletes at the Olympics be the only ones getting a medal? You’ve worked hard… friends or family members living with diabetes have worked hard. We all know it’s not easy to stay on a training schedule and deal with insulin, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, what to eat, what not to eat, staying on schedule, working hard. Heck, all of that is practically an Olympic event in itself. The kind of event that no one wants to compete in. But People With Diabetes compete and win in that event every day.
 
 
Here’s how to win your Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal:

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.

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. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you 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.
 
 
We’ve awarded medals to over 80 athletes in 20-plus states and territories, 14 or 15 countries, on five continents. Let’s not let the Olympic athletes have all the fun.

Let’s hold our own Gold Medal Ceremony. Write me today.

Two more medal winners!

I’m so thrilled to tell you about our latest Champion Ahtletes With Diabetes.

One of these winners you probably don’t know at all (though you’ll recognize who sent us the request). The other winner you know quite well. What you’ll recognize about these stories though is that it’s the stories that matter in this medal quest.

Sue Rericha of RFamHere’s Ramblings sent me a request for a young person in Illinois. This athlete wanted to play 7th grade volleyball. Sue wrote:

My co-worker’s 7th grade daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 a week before school started at her sport physical. Tonight she found out she made the volleyball team (the whole reason for the physical that may have saved her life).

How can I not want to send a medal for that? So inspiring! Twelve days later, I received another e-mail:

It arrived yesterday! I gave the medal to Katie’s mom and she asked the volleyball coaches to give it to her at tonight’s practice. Perfect timing as tonight they were doing team building and motivation.

A story like that just melts me right down to butter. Congratulations Katie!

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Our other medal winner this time is Mike Hoskins of Indianapolis. Mike writes at DiabetesMine, when he’s not writing at The Diabetic’s Corner Booth.

Mike-with-Medal

Mike has dealt with a lot of the issues we all face as People With Diabetes who strive for athletic achievements. It’s hard, and while the motivation to succeed is great, the motivation to give up is great too. Sometimes, perseverance is what gets you through, no matter how hard the road may be. That, and remembering people who inspire you, like I’m sure Mike inspires others. His road was literally a road, during the ADA’s Indiana Tour de Cure. Mike e-mail from early December says:

It was my first-ever Tour de Cure on June 8, 2013 (I’m just inside the six month mark!). Here in Indy, at the Indy Motor Speedway and around that central part of Indianapolis.

I’d signed up for a 50k because for some reason that was the shortest you could sign up for aside from the “family recreational” stretch just going around the 2.5-mile speedway track. I trained at least a few times a week in the couple months leading up to this event, around my neighborhood and the city on streets and bike paths. On the day of the tour, I made it a little more than 15 miles — about 25k which is half of the registered route. That was my limit, and at times it was very challenging for me, especially when it came to the non-level highways and streets around Indy that were very different from the smooth flat downtown streets and paths I’d been training on.

But I pressed on, in large part because of the people who were there cheering me on as they rode by and saw me struggling to just keep pedaling and offered a “Go Red Rider!” in support. At some of the toughest times, it was that support that kept me going. (support and empowerment… that’s what this is all about!)

This was the most I’ve ridden my bike as an adult, and I am very proud of pushing myself and going the distance that I did. It was never about making it to the very end or being first, because that just wasn’t me. But I wanted to prove that I could do it, that I could push myself to my limit and not stop when it seemed impossible, and that no matter what that diabetes wasn’t going to stop me from doing this.

Before the ride, and even during that time and afterward, it’s people like Scott Johnson, Mari Ruddy and George Simmons who I’ve seen accomplish their own athletic achievements that have really served as my biggest motivations and inspiration in believing I could do this, and pushing myself to make it happen.

Mike also took the time to write about his achievement at DiabetesMine last week. You can read it here. Congratulations Mike!

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Okay, it’s your turn. Time to write in and request the medal you deserve for accomplishing athletic goals. Time to nominate someone who inspires you. For more information on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes initiative, click here or send me an e-mail at happymedium[dot]net[at]gmail[dot]com. And don’t forget to follow @ChampsWithD on Twitter and like our Facebook page too!
 
 
 

Meet our first three medal winners.

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The movement is underway, and gaining momentum. Athletes With Diabetes are writing in and receiving their medals for bravery and resilience in completing their important athletic goals.

How did this get started? Like I mentioned on DSMA Live in November, I’ve always been a huge fan of athletes, and I’ve competed in several sports myself over the years. For People With Diabetes, the adjustment from non-activity to regular activity, plus the adjustment in BGs, basal rates, and boluses often requires a fair amount of bravery. I don’t think People With Diabetes get enough recognition or rewards when they get out and compete, or even when they make a concerted effort to stay active. I had been thinking about that on and off for a while, and then I saw this video from Kerri Sparling at Six Until Me. In short, it was inspiring.

It inspired me to get medals produced and purchase certificates and create Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote the idea that all Athletes With Diabetes are Champions.

Here are the first three Champions who received their medals.

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MB

Mary Beth Wyss lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband David. She has a son in the army, and a daughter in college. She’s also been living with Type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years. About five years ago, Mary Beth decided to go to a boxing class. Five years later, she’s still with it.

In MB’s words:
“At first it was overwhelming and I had to keep dropping out to catch my breath or rest my arms. But with each week, month, year it got easier and easier and now my body craves it. If I miss a day, my body drags. I’m doing more push-ups, more planks, more squats, more tire lifts and more jumping jacks than I’ve ever done in my life. But I am DOING SOMETHING!”

Five years of boxing class… wow! Congratulations Mary Beth. I’ll be sure to mind my P’s and Q’s next time we’re together. No need to put your training to use.

Full Disclosure: Mary Beth is a college friend of The Great Spousal Unit, and she appeared in this space once before talking about her diagnosis and treatment of diabetic macular edema, and her participation in clinical trials. She is a dear friend.

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Jen

Jen lives in California, where, among other things, she writes the popular blog See Jen Dance. As you can imagine, Jen’s athletic achievement has to do with tripping the light fantastic. Not once. Not twice. But three times in dance competitions since July. And she’s planning to compete three more times before next July!

Jen writes:
“I’ve been at a few events in the last 6 months. I competed with my instructor at the International Grand Ball at the end of July in pro/am Smooth events (so waltz, tango, foxtrot, v-waltz) and I’m an avid competitor in the west coast swing community.”

By the way, she also posted a photo of her certificate and medal on her blog, and they look great. Way to go, Jen! You are a Champion!

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SJohnson

Everybody knows Scott Johnson. Writer of the awesome Scott’s Diabetes blog, facilitator at Children With Diabetes events around the country, co-host of DSMA Live, friend and advocate and there-aren’t-enough-exclamation-points-to-describe-how-amazing-Scott-is. I’m sure the medal we sent him pales in comparison to the Insulindependence Athletic Achievement Award he received this year (partly because of the money). But for Scott, finishing the Rothman Institute 8K run in Philadelphia back in November was a huge milestone in itself.

“I felt great while doing it, and great afterward. Great all around! I trained for 8 weeks to build my physical abilities and learn how to manage my diabetes, and all of the hard work paid off. A big thanks to Insulindependence for making the whole event happen for me.”

Congratulations Scott… Perseverance is like kryptonite to the diabetes monster.

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So… How about you? Are you next? Are you living with diabetes and getting active and showing your resilience like a champion? Is someone special in your life doing that? If so, I urge you to write in for your medal, or a medal for the important AWD in your life today. Here are the simple rules:

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. This is all about you, not about stupid rules. ‘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. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you 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.

I think D-Athletes are amazing. It takes a tremendous amount of planning, effort, and bravery to compete, or maintain an exercise routine. Heck, sometimes, it’s everything we can do just to walk around the block. Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that brave step is something that should be recognized and rewarded.

Congratulations again to our first three medal winners. Keep those e-mails coming, and let’s get the medal count up even higher!
 
 
 

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.
 
 
 

D-Athletes ROCK.

I’m off today to do my 55 mile bike ride over on Maryland’s beautiful eastern shore. We start and end in Easton, which I like, because the area is about the flattest terrain I’ll ever ride on. It’ll be warm for this time of year, but the ride starts at 7:30 a.m., so if I put some real estate behind me early, I should finish by noon.

I know I wrote earlier this week about wanting it all to be over. But the fact is, I am pumped to do this ride tomorrow. That’s partly because I always get this way before an event. And it’s partly because of something else that I can’t reveal yet (sorry for the tease). I should be able to talk about it sometime in early October.

Anyway, I’m really excited to do this ride tomorrow, and I’m proud to be a Person With Diabetes who will be out there breaking stereotypes. I’m even more proud to ride in an event on the same day that others, in hilly Nashville, Tennessee, will be riding in the JDRF Ride for a Cure. I’m prouder still that many others with diabetes are training, participating, and yes, competing in athletic events around the world. And I’m not discounting you, all of you JDRF and Step Out walkers. What you do for all of us is special. It seems like the population of Athletes With Diabetes is growing every day, and I love it.

I hope that all of you D-Athletes run faster, swim longer, walk farther, and bike harder than I ever will. I will cheer you on all the way.

I am happy to be part of your team. Go us!!!
 
 
 

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