Donuts and powerlifting may not seem like a match made it heaven, but if you’re Chris Ruden it definitely works!
Chris is an an elite Powerlifter, entrepreneur, model and motivational speaker. He’s also been living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for nearly a decade in addition to being born with a birth defect that left him with only two fingers on his left hand, and a shorter left arm.
“I’m known as the donut guy,” says Chris. “I have a donut with an insulin pump on it. It’s both a joke and a message: we have T1D, not leprosy, so as long as we take ownership of our disease and manage it right, we can live exactly the way we want to live with no limitations.”
Chris was originally told that he couldn’t have T1D because he didn’t look the part. “There was and continues to be misinformation out there about what T1D looks like. I was diagnosed, but given no instructions on how to manage it. My parents are both nurses, but even they didn’t know much about this disease.
The diagnosis pushed Chris to change his major in college from law to exercise science, and he dove head-first into not only the management of his disease but pushing his physical capabilities to the limit to show others that anything is possible.
At first, Chris found it difficult to connect with the T1D community. He only knew one other person with T1D. However, once he started to connect with more of the T1D community online, he found out that JDRF’s presence was wider than he thought, and it was through the chapters and events that he found his ability to connect and share his experiences with others.
Chris has been invited to speak at nine TypeOneNation Summits over the years, and plans to hit as many as he can in the future. Chris is an avid speaker and has dedicated his life to motivating and supporting others with physical or medical disabilities. “What’s nice to know, and what I share with others, is that this is real life. What we know today can be completely different than what we know tomorrow, but for today let’s use what we have.”
Chris will be speaking in Dallas at the JDRF Young Adult Conference on March 30-31, 2019. “I take speaking seriously because I think that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have. I want to inspire other young adults and make sure they understand that limits are self-imposed. I want to show them how to live with T1D, instead of for T1D, and how being a part of JDRF can make that happen.”
Click here to register for the JDRF Young Adult Conference. We’ll see you in Dallas!