In a series of 12 episodes, Podder Talk is featuring interviews between professional snowboarder Sean Busby and inspirational people in the diabetes community. In the twelfth episode, Sean interviews Todd Melinn, Sean’s former snowboarding coach who has had diabetes for the last 28 years. If you have a diabetes hero you’d like us to spotlight, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Melinn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1984 and started snowboarding that same year. For 30 years, snowboarding has been connected to Todd's life in some way. Whether that was moving his way up from working at the first snowboard shop in Wrightwood, California, to being a snow maker, a lift operator, a lift mechanic, the founder/original designer of the Faultine Terrain Parks at Mountain High Ski/Snowboard Resort, co-founder of Active Mail Order and then a coach, Todd has found a way to incorporate snowboarding into his daily routine and job for many years.
The story of Todd comes full circle with Sean Busby. Todd happened to be Sean's first snowboard coach years before Sean was ever diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Sean credits Todd and Todd's friend and co-coach, John, for enabling him to become a professional snowboarder.
Todd tells the story of his and Sean's relationship best: "My friend John and I were in charge with coaching kids ages 8-14 at the highest level of snowboarding. We coached all aspects of freestyle and racing technique, including various spins, board slides, carving, half pipe, racing gates and boarder cross. Many of our students continued on to compete internationally in both amateur and pro events. It was during this time that I had the pleasure of meeting Sean. Out of all the kids that John and I coached, Sean had the greatest dedication. Many of the other kids would either flake or have some other excuse not to show up for class. Sean, however, would always be there ready to train and soak up as much information and stoke John and I could deliver.”
Sean eventually moved up to Canada to train and went professional with snowboarding shortly after. A few years later, Sean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which was the trigger for him to reconnect with his very first coach and inspiration, Todd.
It was finally during the 2012-2013 season that Sean and Todd became reacquainted. Both were able to meet up on a mountain and take a few runs together and reconnect. Today, Todd and Sean not only continue their friendship, but also work together on various aspects of the non-profit, RidingOnInsulin, and continue to share the "stoke" of the sport together.
Click here to request a FREE Demo of the Omnipod insulin pump.