This guest post is written by Doug Masiuk, who has type 1 diabetes. Doug ran across the United States and speaking about diabetes along the way.
On May 20th my feet were in the Pacific Ocean. This was me taking a first step. One connected to millions of others. A person with diabetes. I was trying to become the first person with type 1 to run across the United States, over 3,400 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic, San Francisco to New York. Two hundred and forty elite runners have run across the United States since the Civil War. In 2012 a person with type 1 was trying to be added to this list.
Running a marathon or more a day, the balance of exercise, diet and insulin made it seem impossible to many. Almost reckless. How do you eat 7,000 calories a day? Run for hours? Then inject insulin? This has been my life since being diagnosed as a 3 year old in 1977. Out in the endless fields and along roadsides—do you stop when the trend arrow on the Dexcom begins to plummet or scream upward? What do you say when you meet a mother who shares with you how difficult it was to manage it a generation before? Wake up and do it again and again for months and across all those miles. A great many people have afforded me this opportunity. So I run.
During the run I was stopping at schools, hospitals, universities and meeting with groups to share with the world the importance of exercise in bettering one’s health, and preventing type 2 diabetes when possible. To share with others that diabetes is never a reason to give up, give in or simply stop. This is our opportunity, our power. Use it.
From hard work, a commitment and a patience there is a chance. A great many people from families and diabetes organizations. From the doctors and researchers, philanthropists and politicians that have made the world better for persons with diabetes. For the person who has lived with it for decades and to that mom and dad who are sitting in that hospital’s waiting room at this very moment learning about insulin for the first time, diabetes is continuously evolving for the better. We are proof of this.
Running across a country is a niche category but check a box. Another threshold crossed and with these accomplishments a world can see that Diabetes doesn’t need to be an end to everyone else and to ourselves. With medalists in the Olympics, Bob Santo’s accomplishments and athletes going to the top of Everest these choices are advancing what is possible. Redefining that status-quo.
From the run I was able to share this message to 35 million people. Mens’ Heallth Journal recognized me as being a Hero of Health and Fitness, Gear Junkie and Swiss Army awarded me their ‘Epic Award’ and Insulindepence nominated me for their Athletic Achievement Award. I continue to share with diabetes organizations, hospitals, running groups what is possible where ever I can.
This was a beginning. In the summer of 2014 I look to run the Appalachian Trail. With the proper support and an experienced crew I am looking at running it in under 50 days. This will put me within striking distance of the 46 day record. There has never been a fastest ever for diabetes. A world record. To make this run more than to be able to do something with diabetes but to show that you can also be the fastest and have a chronic illness.
This is a grass roots effort and support from others makes it possible. This is our chance to further advance what is possible with Type-1. To raise the bar a little higher. You can learn more at dougmasiuk.com.
What I always ask is that if you know someone with Diabetes, type 1 or type 2 please share this with them. The goal is to get as many as healthy as we can. To share that we are not alone and that a great many things are possible thank you to support and innovation from people and groups like Joslin Diabetes Center. They have afforded us magnificent permissions. It’s ours to go forth and make the most from these gifts.