Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 365 Challenge--some background and perspective

What does Type 1 Diabetes have to do with climbing?  For me, well, it goes a little bit like this. A little over 12 years ago, I was a (relatively) normal kid, eating honey nut Cheerios, drinking Gatorade and living a carefree life. In the early spring of 1999, I came down with a nasty case of encephalitis which triggered the auto-immune disruption that killed my pancreas and left me this gift that keeps on giving: Type 1 Diabetes!

So in the intervening years, I decided to play the cards that were dealt to me, prioritizing my health over monetary gains, careers and friends. Not letting Diabetes dictate what I would or would not do has become my full-time job, and that has meant that any job or hobby must involve a significant physical component or else it becomes detrimental to managing this condition.

Rock climbing started out as a Youtube induced college dream and has since become my passion and my job. I have the privilege of introducing others to the vertical world and I write and photograph climbing and the amazing places that this activity has taken me. Managing my sugar has been a challenge in all of this, but it can be done with the right attitude. So basically I climb rocks and mountains (and rappel into slot canyons from time to time) while keeping Type 1 Diabetes at bay.

I have been doing this for the last decade in one form or another because it just seemed natural to me; the path of least resistance. Accepting the challenges you have to face in order to assess and overcome them. From my point of view it would be strange and unnatural to do anything besides work, work out, eat the same things every day (just about), manage my sugar and climb all over North America as finances permit. You can get a little background on my personal climbing/adventuring background that has led me to this point by checking out my older, personal blog. And the very first one from our first major road trip.

On memorial day weekend (2011) while driving out to a friends wedding in Massachussetts, my wife pointed out the fact that other people who have Type 1 themselves or loved ones with the condition could benefit from seeing what we do out climbing on the road, and that even people who don't have the slightest reason to care about Diabetes can still embrace healthy living!

So, beginning on January 1, 2012, I am committing myself to a solid year of climbing, at locations all over North America, to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes and funding for the JDRF. The time between then and now will be spent in preparation as there is a LOT to do to get ready, and in just a few months, it will be go time!

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