So how in the heck can Ryan Reed, living with type 1 diabetes, manage to drive in NASCAR for a living? Shouldn’t all that stress and adrenaline spike his sugars or cause a blood sugar crash? Seems like it would be hard as anything to drive over a hundred miles an hour!
And yet, he zooms. He zooms not just to earn a living, but also to raise diabetes awareness. His car has “diabetes” blazed across it and his sponsors have included Eli Lilly and Dexcom.
Anyway, Reed heard about mySugr’s mission to make diabetes suck less and approached us with the idea for a partnership. He’ll be making some social media posts about what we do each month. Like this Instagram post, for instance.
We wanted to return the favor by talking more about his story and his mission. Reed grew up in a racing family and was winning races even in his teens. But when he became 17, he started getting some familiar symptoms to those of us with diabetes. The result was a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
He was told he would never race again. But instead of getting run over, he kicked that doctor to the curb and found other racers with diabetes to ask them for advice. Once he found an Indy Car driver (probably the most dangerous form of racing!) who did it, he got in contact with their endocrinologist.
From there, he’s found ways to manage his diabetes, stay safe on the racetrack, and start winning races. He has a team of doctors who help him with his monitoring. The glucose monitor helps him stay safe during races. If his sugars get too low, he can sip on a sugary drink through his helmet.
If they are too high, his pit crew has instructions to deliver insulin or glucagon through his suit. There’s even a bullseye that shows the crew where to put the needle. However, thanks to his diabetes management plan, he’s never had to get an injection during a race!
He says that managing his diabetes is a challenge, but thanks to a strong care plan it doesn’t keep him from racing. If you happen to catch a NASCAR Xfinity series race, look for the #16 Ford Mustang. That’s his car! And if you happen to catch one of his social media posts, let others know how much mySugr has helped you to manage the suckiness of diabetes and help you achieve your life goals.
“Live with Scott!” on Facebook
Ryan was our guest for a recent episode of “Live with Scott!” on the mySugr Facebook page – here’s a recording of the episode in case you missed it live. Enjoy!