What Does It Feel Like To Have Diabetes?

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

JDRF Type 1 For A DayI try to do all I can through radio and the web to bring awareness to Team Diabetes and the greater cause, but my friend Kerri at Six Until Me asked that I take it a step further this year.

She asked me to sign up for the JDRF’s T1D4ADAY initiative where you go through what it’s like to be a Type 1 Diabetic for a day. It’s a very simple thing, really. You text the service and they send you texts back throughout the day with incidents that diabetics have to deal with.

On the surface, being a diabetic doesn’t sound like a big deal. We say things like “manage your blood sugar” and “watch your diet” as if they are simple tasks. When you say it like that they are simple, but when you live like a diabetic you realize the greater scope of what those statements mean.

Going for a run? Make sure you bring some glucose tabs with you and calculate what’s going to happen to the carbs in your body on the run. Hit a low in the middle of the night? Call your emergency contact to make sure they can look after you. Missed a few markers throughout the day? Don’t beat yourself up about it, just keep going and try to hit the next one.

We (non-diabetics) go on and off diets all the time. We eat salads and drink water for a week, and then binge on pizza and beer. No big deal. When you’re a diabetic, if you fall off that wagon it is a big deal. Each day you need to bring supplies with you. Every meal needs to be calculated for carbs, and the insulin levels in your body. A healthy pancreas normally does all the balancing automatically, when you’re diabetic you become the pancreas.

Here’s a video I made walking you through my day with Type 1 Diabetes:

t1d4aday textEven though I ‘thought’ I was done when I shot that video, my ‘day’ with Type 1 Diabetes wasn’t done. In the middle of the night I received 2 more texts. My blood sugar had inexplicably dropped, and an emergency contact had needed to be called.

Kerri tells me this is something that diabetics constantly live in fear of. Even sleep is not a reprieve from the disease, which shouldn’t be too surprising.

I still remember being stunned when I first met Kerri 5 years ago and she told me that she had a diabetes pump sewn into her wedding dress. “Really?” I said. “Yes,” she responded. “Diabetes doesn’t take a day off because you’re getting married.” Diabetes doesn’t take time off when you need to sleep either.

Yes, you and I can binge and fall off the wagon when it comes to our health regimens, but a diabetic can’t. Missing those numbers, or ignoring the warning signs becomes a serious health risk.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you aware of what nearly 1/3 of Canadians are living with?

Team Diabetes Iceland Is A Go

Reykjavik Marathon

Team Diabetes Iceland - 2003

It’s on.

With more than $9 500 raised for Team Diabetes Iceland, I’m over my fund raising goals for the half marathon in Reykjavik this August.

There are a few facets to being a Team Diabetes member. The first is the fundraising. Each international trip brings with it a requirement to raise at least $6 100 to cover the hard costs of the trip and to provide funding to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The second part is awareness. By doing the fundraising, you become and ambassador for the CDA, spreading awareness about people living with diabetes and the importance of making research breakthroughs.

The third part is the training. Completing a 10k, half marathon, or full marathon is no easy task, and you need to give yourself at least 4 months of regular running to get in shape to get around the course in one piece.

With the fundraising completed, and the awareness an ongoing effort, the training is now my full focus.

I use Runner’s World Magazine’s SmartCoach app to plan my training. You tell it a recent race distance and time, how hard you want to train, the distance you’re training for, and it will plot out a 3-4 day a week training routine to get you to the finish line. I’ve used this planner for 3 years, and it’s my go-to schedule that hasn’t failed me yet.

I need to give some thanks to some big sponsors who have helped me raise the money for this Team Diabetes Iceland event. I fundraise by ‘freelancing for charity’. I pick up extra work and then have people make donations to Team Diabetes in exchange for the freelance efforts.

ING Direct's $3333 cheque for Team D

ING Direct supported with a $3333 donation as part of their Orange for YYC event this week. It involved hashtag promotion, and my hashtag had the most mentions thanks to support from Amber Mac, Marc Garneau, Chris Brogan, and Jann Arden.

I write (and have written) content for a number of blogs. The money I make doing this freelancing is a crucial part of the fundraising I do. Sites like Yummy Mummy Club, Babble’s Kid Scoop, and Future Shop’s Tech Blog are all a part of that effort.

I’ll be emceeing the Stampede Road Race in exchange for a Team Diabetes donation.

The CORE held a promotion for the Mini Countryman and their mall last summer. The grand prize was $5000, and while I fell short, they still kicked in a significant amount to Team Diabetes as a consolation.

I’m currently doing the U Weight Loss program as a part of my training in hopes to lose some weight to help me pick up the pace. They’ve been a great help in getting my diet back on track, and in line with my running goals.

Without the help of these sponsors, and friends who generously click my donation button to pitch in, the fundraising wouldn’t happen. That would mean awareness wouldn’t spread, and the training would slip further down the priority list. The sponsors make it easier to focus on the other two parts of being on Team D.

If you’d like to come on board as a sponsor for 2013, fire me an email and let’s talk about how I can help your company in exchange for support of Team Diabetes.

3 Things For Calgary

3 things for calgary

What Are Your 3 Things?

Mayor Nenshi is asking that people in the city do 3 Things for Calgary as a way to make life here better for all of us.

Last night at the ING Direct event, Orange For YYC, I sat on a pane with Peter Aceto and Lori Stewart and was asked to talk about my 3 Things for Calgary.

1. Cheer For The Flames.
I grew up in Vancouver, I’m a Canucks fan, but my boys are growing up in Calgary, and will probably be Flames fans. I buy them the gear, I take them to the games, and this season we will fly our C of Red a little higher (for 76 games, at least ;)

2. Engage My Politicians.
Calgary is lucky to have an active political base on Twitter and Facebook. With a few clicks I can reach my alderman, my MLA, .. .. just not my MP. I will continue to use these tools to engage the elected officials for two reasons: 1) to share my views and be involved in the process 2) to encourage them to do the same.

3. Become A YYC Ambassador.
Continue to use my voice in social media to raise Calgary’s (and Alberta’s) voice and place on the national and international stage. This truly is a place where community is celebrated, and has many ideas that could be shared around the world.

What are your 3 Things?

Things Are About To Get A Little Hashtaggy

My personal charity of choice is Team Diabetes. If I enter any media contest where an honorarium to charity is offered, I choose Team Diabetes.

LG Canadian Texting ChampionshipsThis has resulted in big donations from the likes of LG Canada and The CORE in Calgary. In a few weeks I will be on a panel for ING Direct to celebrate 3 Things for Calgary, and there is an honorarium up for grabs to the panelist that gets the most hashtag mentions on Twitter.

My other panelists will be Peter Aceto, President & CEO of ING DIRECT Canada, and Lori Stewart (founder of Awesome Foundation Calgary). We will be discussing the effect that individuals and organizations can have in their community alongside the impact social media can have for inspiring others and driving change.

$3333 to the charity of choice of each panelist is up for grabs to the person that can get their hashtag mentioned the most. That’s a BIG donation to Team Diabetes for each mention of #OrangeforYYC2. So you will be seeing the hashtag a lot from me between June 7 and 21. I’d also urge you to use it as well.

The kind of fundraising I do for Team Diabetes, I call “freelancing for charity.” I will do promotional appearances, voice work, sponsorship deals, writing, etc all in exchange for donations to the cause.

So that means taking gigs like this one and hammering out a few tweets in hopes of getting some good money for a good cause.

My wife and I are off to Reykjavik, Iceland in August to run the Half Marathon, and while we have personally donated the hard costs of the travel, we need to do some extra fundraising to hit our goals. This money will put us over the top.

So, please, visit the Eventbrite page and RSVP for the event on June 21, and use the hashtag #OrangeforYYC2 to promote the event in your Twitter stream as often as possible.

If that’s not your bag, fine – just please excuse the hashtagginess of my stream for the next 2 weeks, it’s for a good cause.

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