Have you ever been in the right place at the right time, leading to a series of events happened that you could never have anticipated? This recently happened to Larry Hausner, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. When he told me the following story, it made me think about how many people whose lives are affected by diabetes we come in contact with every single day – whether we can see their story or not.
As told by Larry Hausner:
The weekend before last while I was out for a brisk morning walk, I realized that part of the Marine Corps Marathon was going on nearby, so I went to watch the runners for a few minutes. Most the people on the sidelines were looking for friends or relatives in the race, but it was nice just to see the energy and action involved.
Suddenly a young female marathoner stopped in front of the man standing next to me. Before I knew what was happening, he handed her a blood glucose meter, she tested herself, said “yeah, I need it,” and he gave her an insulin pen. She gave herself an injection, handed the insulin pen back to him, and was off and running again. It all happened in less than a minute.
I was shocked that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness this brief exchange – but knowing what I know about diabetes, I just wanted to make sure this young athlete was okay to continue with the marathon. I struck up a conversation with the man, who is her father, and learned that she had only been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the past few years. She’d been a runner before her diagnosis, and had made continuing to run a goal in her diabetes management. In fact, this was her second marathon since she’d been diagnosed.
Through the course of the conversation the runner’s father asked me how I know so much about diabetes. I told him I work at the American Diabetes Association – wasn’t sure I wanted to present myself as CEO while in my sweatpants and uncombed hair that early in the morning. But when he asked what I do as the Association, I explained. His face lit up – he told me his family appreciates the work we do.
Running 26.2 miles is an accomplishment for anyone, and especially for a young woman who is adjusting to life with diabetes. Both of her parents were there to support her and were obviously proud of this achievement, as was I. Soon her parents had to head off to the next planned check point on the marathon course. A few moments later the runner’s mother came back to thank me for all that the Association does. I knew she was anxious to get to the next check point, so I just smiled and let her know that we love what we do.
Although I never learned her name, I was proud of this young runner’s determination to do what she loved while responsibly keeping track of the disease. This runner and her supportive family add to the web of stories that makes me proud to be a part of the Stop Diabetes® movement.