Today’s guest blog comes from Ryan Reed, NASCAR driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop DiabetesSM presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing. In February 2011, Reed received the life-changing news that he had type 1 diabetes and was told he would never race again. He refused to give up his dream of racing and has since become an inspiration for millions of people living with the disease by continuing to pursue his goals while managing his diabetes. To help spread his message, Reed — through his non-profit Ryan's Mission — collaborated with the American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes on the Drive to Stop DiabetesSM initiative which brings awareness and diabetes education to thousands of spectators at select NASCAR races nationwide, as well as at several off-track health and wellness initiatives.
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 17, I thought I might have to give up my dream of becoming a NASCAR driver. I didn’t know a whole lot about diabetes at the time, so I didn’t understand what the diagnosis meant. I had a hard time accepting that I wouldn’t be able to race. Fortunately, I was able to find an amazing doctor, Dr. Anne Peters, who was willing to work with me to make sure I could continue to pursue my career. With determination and a devoted support system, I’ve been able to manage my diabetes and keep on racing.
But it’s not always easy. Similar to managing my racing, managing my diabetes on and off the track requires constant monitoring and preparation. Luckily I have teams that support me in both. On the track I have my NASCAR pit crew and off the track I also have a pit crew: My Diabetes Pit Crew. Just as my on-track pit crew helps support me during a race, My Diabetes Pit Crew gives me the support I need to manage my diabetes every day, keeping me accountable and helping me execute the plan my doctor has developed for me.
November is American Diabetes Month. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing a series of blog posts written by members of my racing pit crew and diabetes pit crew along with the My Diabetes Pit Crew video series. You’ll get a firsthand look at the important role my crew, family and friends play in supporting me.
Diabetes is a tough diagnosis, but with the right support system and team around you, you can continue to make your dreams a reality.
Check out a preview of the My Diabetes Pit Crew video series below and come back each week in November for a new post and video in the series.