I have been a professional Olympic XC skier with type 1 diabetes since the year 2000. For the past nine years I have visited children's diabetes summer camps around the nation. I go to these camps to share my personal story with diabetes.
I tell the kids about how crushing my diabetes diagnosis was 14 years ago when the first endocrinologist I saw told me to abandon my Olympic dream and become a club skier. The second doctor I saw laughed at me when I told him I wanted to compete in the Olympics in two years.
Fast forward to the present and I have competed in three Olympics and won 16 US National Championships. Those doctors underestimated me and what is possible with diabetes. I never want to see another person, and especially a child, with diabetes be told that they cannot pursue their dreams because of the disease we share. I talk openly about the hard times I have had with diabetes, such as when I collapsed competing in the 2010 Olympic games, as well as the triumphs (winning the Under-23 World Championships). I want everyone to understand that while living with diabetes is not always easy, nothing has to stand in the way of reaching your goals. The better a person with diabetes cares for themselves the less it has to impact their lives.
Visting diabetes summer camps gives me a unique opportunity to connect with children with diabetes. I am proud to be presented as a role model. I sign autographs for kids after my presentation and I can't estimate how many Omnipods and traditional insulin pumps I have signed over the last ten years. For the kids to know that I use the same insulin and devices they are familiar with, it connects them more to my story and seems to make them believe they can go after their dreams too.
The Omnipod insulin pump helps make diabetes a smaller part of life, so there’s more room for the rest of life. To learn more about the Omnipod, click here to try a FREE Demo.