“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” – David McCullough
By John Moore
JDRF Rocky Mountain Board Member
On June 17, 2017 I started an epic race alongside my best friend of nearly 30 years. It was my 40th birthday, the next day was Father’s Day, and we were running the Leadville Marathon, we were climbing over 6,000 feet of elevation, reaching 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass. How could the day get any better? As we took our first steps, I could see myself crossing the finish line.
I’ve run dozens of marathons, over one-dozen ultramarathons, completed two Ironman Triathlons and I was well-prepared for a big accomplishment to celebrate the big “4-0.” I’ve felt the rush, and the immense pride of accomplishment.
Well planned day, equipped, organized, prepared, and I’d done this kind of thing before. I was wearing my JDRF Challenge shirt, my T1D Looks Like Me hat; I was ready. That day, I made it to mile 22, and “Did Not Finish” a marathon, for the first time in my life. I was having difficulty maintaining my balance, not due to low blood sugar, but low blood pressure. It kind of felt like one of those times when you say to yourself, “I did the same thing yesterday, and it worked perfectly, but today it didn’t, and I can’t figure out why.”
If you have type 1 diabetes, or have a child, spouse, etc. that has T1D, you understand what it is like to do everything perfectly, and have everything go wrong. In May of 1982, at age 4, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I don’t remember life without T1D. In the 36+ years that I have had T1D, I have had my fair share of days, where I have done everything right, to manage, and control my T1D, and things just didn’t go as planned.
The epic race that I was planning to celebrate my 40th birthday with, could have become the epic failure that defined the day, or even the year. However, it didn’t.
With type 1 diabetes, we may stumble, and we may fall, but we don’t fail. We don’t let the grind of T1D grind us down. T1D requires adaptive management, perseverance, and an endless reservoir of hope. The ability to overcome continuous obstacles, constant frustration, and to maintain the grit required to try to manage a 24/7 disease is something, for everyone taking on this disease, to be proud of.
On July 18, 2013, our two-year old son (now 7), Owen, was diagnosed with the same life-threatening, life-changing, chronic disease that, at least in-part, defines me. Words cannot describe the pain, guilt, and sadness that came with Owen’s blood glucose reading of “HIGH.”
Despite our combined 41-years, we have days where we do everything right, or everything the same as we did the day prior, and it seems like we are doing everything wrong.
This June 16th, I will be heading back to Leadville with the support of several good friends running along-side me, the backing of my father, traveling across the country to support me, and the moral support of my wife, Maureen, and my kids. I will have the benefit of trial and error, some perspective on what I am facing, and I will have the grit of a T1D.
As I am lucky to be approaching 4 decades with T1D, I have come to truly gain insight and appreciation for the reality, the destruction and the life-
threatening nature of this disease. I am confident that enduring with T1D is impossible without support.
Who cares about 41? No one, and that is a good thing. This year, I am not running to celebrate me, I am running to celebrate T1D. I am climbing a mountain, to run down a cure. I am running the Leadville Marathon, raising $100 for JDRF for every year that Owen and I have had T1D (41-years), in efforts to run down a cure, and see the world from the one perspective that hasn’t been possible – a world without type 1 diabetes.