This weekend, five of the winners of the My Diabetes Pit Crew Sweepstakes joined NASCAR driver, Ryan Reed at the Texas Motor Speedway as honorary members of his pit crew. These honorary pit crew members come from around the United States and understand the importance of having their own diabetes pit crew to help them manage their diabetes.
For Ashley VanDresser from Florence, CO, the idea of a diabetes pit crew rings close to home. In September 2006, after five years of circle track racing, Ashley was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was told to abandon her dream of a racing career.
“When I was diagnosed, all I heard was I would not be able to race,” she told Reed during a phone call last week.
Ashley’s story struck a chord with Reed, 22, who was also told he could never race again when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2011.
“Talking to Ryan was amazing. It is a great feeling to know you are not alone in the battle against diabetes. Knowing he is trying to make a difference is wonderful. It gives people hope,” she said.
While Ashley ultimately decided to stop racing, she remains actively involved in the racing community. In her time off from her job as a patient care tech with a dialysis group, she attends car shows and helps her fiancé, Travis, restore show trucks.
“Travis is my diabetes pit crew chief now,” said Ashley. “He helps keep me in line when it comes to what I eat and he makes sure I keep up with testing. Between Travis, my mom and step dad, my siblings and my two pups Clive and Claire, I have the most amazing diabetes pit crew anyone can ask for. I do not consider my diabetes as a disease or disability. You can accomplish anything as long as you put your mind to it.”
Following each race in November, LillyPad will feature a profile on a member of Reed’s honorary pit crew. Check back next week to read another inspiring story.