Snowboarder Hosts Events for Children with Type 1 Diabetes
Anyone living with type one diabetes knows that the treatment can be tough; the need to constantly monitor blood sugar levels, using accuchek lancets or Truetest test strips, and the frequent injections of insulin using insulin pen needles, a 1cc insulin syringe, or an insulin pump, are daunting enough as an adult—much less for a child. Many children with type one diabetes struggle to be responsible enough to take care of themselves, and often feel alienated from friends and peers who don’t suffer from the disease. A professional snowboarder aims to give some of those kids a chance at a fun time, as well as inspiration. His efforts have been a major success for promoting awareness of the disease and the fact that even though it can cause some limitations, those who live with it can be successful in all walks of life—including sports.
Sean Busby, a professional snowboarder, was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 2004. Because of the change of lifestyle that the disease demanded, Busby considered leaving the sport altogether; after all, it was difficult to maintain his training regimen and activity level with the need to monitor his blood-glucose levels several times per day and administer insulin frequently as well. Instead of leaving the sport however, he decided to become a role model for younger children with the disease. Busby is no stranger to the needs of type one diabetics; he has to monitor his blood-glucose levels just like everyone else with the disease, using proprietary blood sugar meters and diabetic accessories such as truetest test strips or accuchek lancets. He also has to take insulin medicine—like all diabetics he has the option of choosing between an insulin pump, a 1cc insulin syringe, or insulin pen needles for his needs. Part of his activities in being a professional athlete with the disease is his program called Riding on Insulin.
Busby said of the program, “As I learned to become this professional athlete with this disease, I wanted to take what I learned and be able to use that to give back to others.” The campers participating in the program are paired up into groups with a counselor who also has type 1 diabetes, so they can help them test and check their levels while they’re out on the slopes. Busby’s wife Mollie is the program’s Executive Director, and the pair takes their passion for the cause everywhere they go, including their recent move to Montana. According to Busby, the camps have been a major highlight for many kids with the disease. He says, “It’s really a day for the kids to feel like kids and not a person who has type 1 diabetes first.” It’s still important for the participants to make sure to take their insulin—whether they use a 1cc insulin syringe, an insulin pump, or insulin pen needles—and to monitor their blood glucose levels, using whatever products they’re comfortable with, such as accuchek lancets or Truetest test strips. But for one day at least, Busby’s campers have a chance to feel like part of a larger community, with fellow campers and counselors who share their experiences.
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