If you ever need a bit of an inspirational pep talk, Doug is the person to deliver it. Doug is a long-distance runner and is dedicated to share his message that people with diabetes can achieve anything they set their minds to and to “OutRun diabetes”. Check out his story below to learn about the story behind the raisins!
I am lucky for a lot of reasons. As a child, the best gift I had was my family. As a child with diabetes, my only chance was because of my parents. I was three when I was diagnosed in 1977. We did not have CGMs or pumps, but we did have insulin. My parents liked to travel and go skiing or to the beach to visit grandparents. Diabetes was never a reason why we didn’t go; there were icepacks and coolers. There was also common sense to deal with a hot car, insulin going bad, then a trip to a local hospital to get a replacement bottle.
At home, there was soccer, being outside – there were things kids need to do. Starting from age six, when I was yearning for more freedom, I was encouraged to go play with friends on bikes and in the woods. Wedged in my back pants pocket was an ever-present box of sundried raisins, there “just in case”. The corners would roll in and the red paper would fade. From this, a seed was planted: an attitude was instilled.
There is a whole world to explore. Just because diabetes is there, it doesn’t mean the world is not for you. So go.
Now things are much more layered and complicated for me, but the foundation is there to be prepared, pack raisins, snacks, insulin and supplies, be ready to go on these trips – and ask for help. I have been in foreign countries with crashing blood sugars, not knowing the language and misplacing my luggage. In every place, there are people that are there to help us out of tough situations. The world is here for us to explore.
Diabetes is not so worrisome to me even now, as I prepare to begin a run across Australia. I have traveled, ran and biked across a continent before. In my bags were insulin, testing devices and a box of sundried raisins. My excitement lies in meeting new people and experiencing new cultures and creating new stories. Just like when I end up explaining myself to curious and concerned police officers in the middle of nowhere on desolate roads. Running 40 miles per day is doing something that very few have done, and it is what I can do to inspire and motivate others. We can do anything!
To start and experience the journey is the exciting part; to be in over my head and to figure this out. My grandparents, great-grandparents and all those before them did this too. I exist because of them. Looking back, this memory will be more than that of me as a person with diabetes in Tasmania, Australia. It will be something more universal, like who we meet along the way and why.
We all have this inside as explorers. We just come prepared in a different way. So bring your raisins and book that ticket. Plan that trip. Build a foundation of strength and independence.
Learn more about Doug’s journey on outrundiabetes.org.