In today’s Healthy Hollywood feature: Rookie car driver Ryan Reed got the news no kid (or adult) wants to hear: “You’ve got type 1 diabetes.”
At age 17, the now-20-year-old was told he would never be able to compete and his dream of becoming a professional race driver would have to be put in park permanently.
“When I was diagnosed, the doctor told me I couldn’t race anymore. I was devastated, but didn’t’ want to give up so I found Dr. Anne Peters, an endocrinologist. When I went to see her she gave me all the confidence in the world that I would be back in the race car and we came up with a plan to properly manage my diabetes,” Ryan reveals to Healthy Hollywood.
This year, Ryan is living out his dream, racing for the first time in the NASCAR Nationwide series event. Thanks to a positive attitude and a crew of professionals who have helped him with his nutrition, exercise and managing his diabetes, he’s able to compete safely.
“Diabetes requires a lot of counting carbs and watching what a put into my body. As much as I travel, I have to be able to adapt. But, overall I just try to be very mindful of what I eat on a daily basis. I also use a Dexcom which is a continuous glucose monitor, which allows me to keep a constant eye on my blood sugar even in the race car,” notes Ryan.
And, Ryan notes his racecar has special monitors, adding, “There is a sensor in my stomach that transmits a signal to a receiver on the dash in my car and reads me my blood sugar. There’s a drink on board that can spike my blood sugar if needed. We also have a guy on the team trained to give me an insulin injection during a pit stop if my blood sugar gets too high.”
Now, helping others with type 1 diabetes is high on Ryan’s agenda. He wants others to know a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to derail your dreams. With the support of Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association, he’s created the Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign, which raises awareness and provides education to those at NASCAR events and beyond.
“Just don’t give up. It is such a demanding disease and can be really tough, but stay positive and don’t let it take your dreams away. Raising the nation’s awareness and sense of urgency to fight the growing diabetes epidemic is something that’s very important to me,” wraps up Ryan.
Here’s to Ryan’s dream to be at the finish line in record time.
For more information on diabetes, check out www.drivetostopdiabetes.org.
-- Terri MacLeod
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