Outrun Diabetes Creates a Lump that Won’t Go Away

I started my car and enjoyed the warmth. I hadn’t realized how cold I still was until I began to feel the tingling of life coming back into my fingers. I quickly put my car in drive and hurried down the hill to catch up with the runners.

It didn’t take long to be in a caravan of people and vehicles.  The slow-moving procession allowed me time to think. Quickly memories began to play out in my mind’s eye.

I thought of the groups of people talking amongst themselves. They were introducing themselves and telling their diagnosis stories.  As people with diabetes do, they were comparing insulin delivery methods and sharing experiences that only other people with diabetes understand.

I remembered seeing insulin tubing peeking out of someone’s running gear. I wondered if the owner was concerned about the insulin breaking down in the tubing because of the cold.

The group continued into the heart of downtown St. John’s.  The RCMP allowed safe passage through busy intersections.  We were still going slow enough that it was safe to continue to allow my mind to wander a bit more.

I watched a young man jump out of the pilot truck.  Being a D-Momma, I instantly panicked.  Was someone low? Did they need glucose? Had a site fallen out? What was going on? It turned out that nothing was going on.  The young man was taking video and pictures to continue to document the journey.  He had probably been in the truck to simply warm up and was now back out with the rest of the group.

The pilot truck was filled with diabetes supplies and glucose.  Sebastien Sasseville is the first person in Canada to use the new Animas Vibe. He has a pump and CGM giving him data at all times.  He has a great concept of how diabetes, exercise, extreme temperatures, and food all interact in his body. He would not be low after less than an hour of activity and hours of adrenaline.

I watched as runners slowly dropped off.  Cars began to take their exits and return home.  I felt a lump in my throat.  I had been a part of something amazing.  This was the start of a journey that would touch thousands of people living with diabetes.

I don’t normally get sappy and emotional over things like this.  What was wrong with me? I don’t know but there was so much hope surrounding this run.  This run would not result in a cure but it showed hope.  Sebastien showed that anyone can do anything that you set your mind to.  He tells people that you do not need to be an athlete to challenge your body.  You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest or run across Canada to challenge yourself.  You simply need to set your own goals and work slowly and steadily to achieve them…no matter what limitations you may think you have.

I watched Sebastien run off with only two other people accompanying him now.  I turned my vehicle onto my exit.  I drove along a bit further and pulled off to the side of the road.  The lump was still there. I remained moved by that picture of a young man jogging  followed by one vehicle. Sometimes he would run alone but Sebastien would never be alone.  Along his run, he would carry with him the well wishes of many people that he has already touched.  He will gather up wishes of people that he will meet along the way.  He will spread hope and awareness.

I took a breath and pulled my car back onto the road.  This had been a morning that I would not forget for a very long time.
Outrun diabetes

The Beginning of a Run To Outrun Diabetes

outrun diabetes truck
A Run Across Canada to Outrun Diabetes…now I have driven across Canada.  I did it with two young children and my mother. It was amazing. The country of Canada is diverse and incredibly scenic. In car, we drove long hours and took a couple of weeks to make the journey
Sebastien Sasseville will take nine months and do it on foot. He is going to break the country down into a number of marathons and travel at least 200 km per week…on foot.  He is not going to enjoy the view from a plane or even a car. He will be enjoying the view from the comfort of his running shoes.  What a view it will be!

When I drove across Canada, many people thought I was crazy.  It is an incredibly long drive.  Heck, it’s a long plane ride! Driving however allowed us to truly see the beauty of each area. We ate meals in provincial parks and were able to spend time stopping to meet with family and friends along the way. It was an incredible experience for all of us.  Now imagine running this same distance. The view will be that much more intense.  The chance to interact with many more new people along the journey will be incredible but face it you still think its crazy! I don’t blame you.

I live in the most eastern city in North America.  This means that many people come here to start epic runs much like Sebastien has.  Sadly, with a few notable exceptions, most fade off into obscurity and never finish what they have started. I have no doubt that this will not be the fate of Mr. Sasseville. He has climbed Mt Everest.  He ran 250km across the Sahara Desert.  He has completed over seven Iron Man competitions all while living with diabetes.  Running across Canada is just another challenge that he will meet.

It was with that knowledge that I layered up and headed to Signal Hill.  Signal Hill offers a magnificent view of both the Atlantic Ocean and the city of St. John’s and surrounding areas.  It is also cold, windy, and did I mention cold? I had on my long underwear, an extra shirt under my sweater and gloves that would work with my camera.  I was going to have as much photo documentation of this event as I could.

As I drove up the hill, I wondered what I would see. Would there be a big crowd or would it be small? I had been asked to spread the word about this event and I had.  There seemed to be a lot of interest but this was a particularly cold day.  A storm was brewing, would people really show up?

outrun diabetes start groupA news vehicle merged onto the road behind me.  There would at least be media coverage.  As I parked, I saw clusters of people chatting and working to keep warm. I saw a few people who I knew. We said hello, talked about the weather, and of course what was about to happen. Everyone agreed, we were at the start of something amazing.

runners to outrun diabetesThe energy level was high.  There were many people of varying fitness levels and ages  ­waiting to start the run.  They would accompany Sebastien for at least the first mile.  Sebastien was busy doing an interview when I first arrived but soon joined the crowd. There were pictures of the pilot truck.  There were pictures with Sebastien.  There were pictures of the group.  Finally, he prepared to start.

The air no longer seemed cold. Sebastien thanked everyone for coming out.  The grin on his face had not left. The incredible energy and hope on Signal Hill that day was tangible.  It was the most incredible thing that I had ever been a part of. Together we began to count down to the start of this epic journey.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…and they were off.  A group of runners, walkers, younger and older, pumpers, people on needles and people without diabetes.  It was powerful group.  I continued to click and watch. There was the police escort, the front jogger, Sebastien and friends, followed by the pilot truck.  As the entourage made its way down the hill, the chill returned and I headed back to my car.  I had been part of history.
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