What Does It Feel Like To Have Diabetes?

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

JDRF Type 1 For A DayI try to do all I can through radio and the web to bring awareness to Team Diabetes and the greater cause, but my friend Kerri at Six Until Me asked that I take it a step further this year.

She asked me to sign up for the JDRF’s T1D4ADAY initiative where you go through what it’s like to be a Type 1 Diabetic for a day. It’s a very simple thing, really. You text the service and they send you texts back throughout the day with incidents that diabetics have to deal with.

On the surface, being a diabetic doesn’t sound like a big deal. We say things like “manage your blood sugar” and “watch your diet” as if they are simple tasks. When you say it like that they are simple, but when you live like a diabetic you realize the greater scope of what those statements mean.

Going for a run? Make sure you bring some glucose tabs with you and calculate what’s going to happen to the carbs in your body on the run. Hit a low in the middle of the night? Call your emergency contact to make sure they can look after you. Missed a few markers throughout the day? Don’t beat yourself up about it, just keep going and try to hit the next one.

We (non-diabetics) go on and off diets all the time. We eat salads and drink water for a week, and then binge on pizza and beer. No big deal. When you’re a diabetic, if you fall off that wagon it is a big deal. Each day you need to bring supplies with you. Every meal needs to be calculated for carbs, and the insulin levels in your body. A healthy pancreas normally does all the balancing automatically, when you’re diabetic you become the pancreas.

Here’s a video I made walking you through my day with Type 1 Diabetes:

t1d4aday textEven though I ‘thought’ I was done when I shot that video, my ‘day’ with Type 1 Diabetes wasn’t done. In the middle of the night I received 2 more texts. My blood sugar had inexplicably dropped, and an emergency contact had needed to be called.

Kerri tells me this is something that diabetics constantly live in fear of. Even sleep is not a reprieve from the disease, which shouldn’t be too surprising.

I still remember being stunned when I first met Kerri 5 years ago and she told me that she had a diabetes pump sewn into her wedding dress. “Really?” I said. “Yes,” she responded. “Diabetes doesn’t take a day off because you’re getting married.” Diabetes doesn’t take time off when you need to sleep either.

Yes, you and I can binge and fall off the wagon when it comes to our health regimens, but a diabetic can’t. Missing those numbers, or ignoring the warning signs becomes a serious health risk.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you aware of what nearly 1/3 of Canadians are living with?

Team Diabetes Iceland Is A Go

Reykjavik Marathon

Team Diabetes Iceland - 2003

It’s on.

With more than $9 500 raised for Team Diabetes Iceland, I’m over my fund raising goals for the half marathon in Reykjavik this August.

There are a few facets to being a Team Diabetes member. The first is the fundraising. Each international trip brings with it a requirement to raise at least $6 100 to cover the hard costs of the trip and to provide funding to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The second part is awareness. By doing the fundraising, you become and ambassador for the CDA, spreading awareness about people living with diabetes and the importance of making research breakthroughs.

The third part is the training. Completing a 10k, half marathon, or full marathon is no easy task, and you need to give yourself at least 4 months of regular running to get in shape to get around the course in one piece.

With the fundraising completed, and the awareness an ongoing effort, the training is now my full focus.

I use Runner’s World Magazine’s SmartCoach app to plan my training. You tell it a recent race distance and time, how hard you want to train, the distance you’re training for, and it will plot out a 3-4 day a week training routine to get you to the finish line. I’ve used this planner for 3 years, and it’s my go-to schedule that hasn’t failed me yet.

I need to give some thanks to some big sponsors who have helped me raise the money for this Team Diabetes Iceland event. I fundraise by ‘freelancing for charity’. I pick up extra work and then have people make donations to Team Diabetes in exchange for the freelance efforts.

ING Direct's $3333 cheque for Team D

ING Direct supported with a $3333 donation as part of their Orange for YYC event this week. It involved hashtag promotion, and my hashtag had the most mentions thanks to support from Amber Mac, Marc Garneau, Chris Brogan, and Jann Arden.

I write (and have written) content for a number of blogs. The money I make doing this freelancing is a crucial part of the fundraising I do. Sites like Yummy Mummy Club, Babble’s Kid Scoop, and Future Shop’s Tech Blog are all a part of that effort.

I’ll be emceeing the Stampede Road Race in exchange for a Team Diabetes donation.

The CORE held a promotion for the Mini Countryman and their mall last summer. The grand prize was $5000, and while I fell short, they still kicked in a significant amount to Team Diabetes as a consolation.

I’m currently doing the U Weight Loss program as a part of my training in hopes to lose some weight to help me pick up the pace. They’ve been a great help in getting my diet back on track, and in line with my running goals.

Without the help of these sponsors, and friends who generously click my donation button to pitch in, the fundraising wouldn’t happen. That would mean awareness wouldn’t spread, and the training would slip further down the priority list. The sponsors make it easier to focus on the other two parts of being on Team D.

If you’d like to come on board as a sponsor for 2013, fire me an email and let’s talk about how I can help your company in exchange for support of Team Diabetes.

3 Things For Calgary

3 things for calgary

What Are Your 3 Things?

Mayor Nenshi is asking that people in the city do 3 Things for Calgary as a way to make life here better for all of us.

Last night at the ING Direct event, Orange For YYC, I sat on a pane with Peter Aceto and Lori Stewart and was asked to talk about my 3 Things for Calgary.

1. Cheer For The Flames.
I grew up in Vancouver, I’m a Canucks fan, but my boys are growing up in Calgary, and will probably be Flames fans. I buy them the gear, I take them to the games, and this season we will fly our C of Red a little higher (for 76 games, at least ;)

2. Engage My Politicians.
Calgary is lucky to have an active political base on Twitter and Facebook. With a few clicks I can reach my alderman, my MLA, .. .. just not my MP. I will continue to use these tools to engage the elected officials for two reasons: 1) to share my views and be involved in the process 2) to encourage them to do the same.

3. Become A YYC Ambassador.
Continue to use my voice in social media to raise Calgary’s (and Alberta’s) voice and place on the national and international stage. This truly is a place where community is celebrated, and has many ideas that could be shared around the world.

What are your 3 Things?

Things Are About To Get A Little Hashtaggy

My personal charity of choice is Team Diabetes. If I enter any media contest where an honorarium to charity is offered, I choose Team Diabetes.

LG Canadian Texting ChampionshipsThis has resulted in big donations from the likes of LG Canada and The CORE in Calgary. In a few weeks I will be on a panel for ING Direct to celebrate 3 Things for Calgary, and there is an honorarium up for grabs to the panelist that gets the most hashtag mentions on Twitter.

My other panelists will be Peter Aceto, President & CEO of ING DIRECT Canada, and Lori Stewart (founder of Awesome Foundation Calgary). We will be discussing the effect that individuals and organizations can have in their community alongside the impact social media can have for inspiring others and driving change.

$3333 to the charity of choice of each panelist is up for grabs to the person that can get their hashtag mentioned the most. That’s a BIG donation to Team Diabetes for each mention of #OrangeforYYC2. So you will be seeing the hashtag a lot from me between June 7 and 21. I’d also urge you to use it as well.

The kind of fundraising I do for Team Diabetes, I call “freelancing for charity.” I will do promotional appearances, voice work, sponsorship deals, writing, etc all in exchange for donations to the cause.

So that means taking gigs like this one and hammering out a few tweets in hopes of getting some good money for a good cause.

My wife and I are off to Reykjavik, Iceland in August to run the Half Marathon, and while we have personally donated the hard costs of the travel, we need to do some extra fundraising to hit our goals. This money will put us over the top.

So, please, visit the Eventbrite page and RSVP for the event on June 21, and use the hashtag #OrangeforYYC2 to promote the event in your Twitter stream as often as possible.

If that’s not your bag, fine – just please excuse the hashtagginess of my stream for the next 2 weeks, it’s for a good cause.

Martin Parnell’s Lacrosse Quest 24

Buzz Bishop and Martin Parnell - Netball Quest 61

Martin Parnell does not take retirement lightly.

In 2010 he ran 250 marathons, with a goal of raising $250 000 for Right To Play.


In 2011, I joined him in setting a Guinness World Record for Marathon Netball (our game lasted 61 hours).

To date he has raised more than $300 000 to help kids around the world get out and get active – and he’s not stopping. Up next for Martin are more world records.

On April 27, he has Lacrosse Quest 24. It will be a box lacrosse game lasting 24 hours, setting the first ever Guinness World Record for Marathon Lacrosse Playing.

20110918 Netball Quest 61 Guinness World Record attempt

To set the record, Martin will need some help. Competitors need to be at least 16 and have some experience with box lacrosse. Go to www.hotboxlacrosse.com to sign up.

The endurance “Lacrosse Quest 24” will be played over 24 hours commencing 7.00PM Friday April 27, around the clock through to 7.00PM Saturday April 28, at the South Fish Creek Recreation Complex Arena (S.E. Calgary).

Hotbox Lacrosse and Martin will be joined by Lacrosse enthusiasts to form two teams of 23 each, who must remain court-side for the duration of the 24 hour record attempt.

“Lacrosse Quest 24” is the third event in Martin’s “Quests for Kids” series. His plan is to complete 10 Quests in 5 years, raising $1m for Right To Play and helping 20,000 children. Lacrosse Quest 24 will aim to raise $50,000 of this goal to benefit the children of Benin in Western Africa. As part of a commitment from Right To Play partners, every dollar donated in support of Lacrosse Quest 24 will be matched three times. Online donations can be made via www.hotboxlacrosse.com

More far-reaching and impactful than the boasting rights of a Guinness World Record will be the effect of the money raised by the attempt. With every $50 raised, one child will be able to experience Right To Play’s weekly sport and play–based programs for a year.

The focus of Martin’s “Quests for Kids” series is to promote sports that kids can play both at school and in the community, so working with Hotbox Lacrosse for the Guinness World Record attempt is a natural fit as his third quest event.

Why not strike “Guinness World Record” off your bucket list? If you have box lacrosse experience, join Martin on April 27 and help kids around the world get the Right To Play.

Team Diabetes 2013 Calendar

Team Diabetes 2013 Event Calendar

Team Diabetes is well known for its roster of unique events, and 2013 is no exception.

Walt Disney World, Florida – January 12 – 13, 2013
Experience the wonder of Walt Disney World in a whole new way! Join us for a weekend of events that are as magical as they are memorable. Walk or run through theme parks and receive a coveted, Disney themed medal to commemorate your completion of the half marathon, full marathon or the Goofy Challenge!

Vienna, Austria – April 14, 2013 [ NEW EVENT]
Join us for our inaugural visit to the City of Music! Austria’s capital and largest city, Vienna boasts beautiful architecture, numerous museums and galleries, stunning parks and world famous landmarks, some of which you will see on course. Choose between a half marathon, full marathon or marathon relay!

Edinburgh, Scotland – May 25, 2013 [NEW EVENT]
A city rich in history, Edinburgh is home to famous landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat. Due to its unique character, “Old Town” and “New Town” were named a Unesco World Heritage site. The event itself offers something for everyone – 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay!

Reykjavik, Iceland – 30th ANNIVERSARY of the MARATHON & NEW HIKE OPTION!
August 17, 2013

2013 will be 30th Anniversary of the Reykjavik Marathon so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to return to our most popular event to celebrate with them! You can choose between a 10K, half marathon or full marathon.

Like to hike? Due to the dramatic and unique landscapes that abound in the “Land of Fire and Ice”, we are also offering a one day hike option for those who prefer to challenge themselves off the beaten track!

Amsterdam, Netherlands -October 20, 2013
Team Diabetes is excited to announce our return to Amsterdam! Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam features numerous canals, more than 1,500 bridges and impressive architecture. Enjoy the sites of this scenic city as you make your way along the 8K, half marathon or marathon course.

You are invited to join us at our Team Diabetes Celebration Nights on March 7th and 15th in select cities to learn more about these incredible destinations and meet current team members, alumni and future members of Team Diabetes.

I’m already in for Reykjavik, 2012 – this week I’m putting my name down for Scotland, 2013. See you there!

Christmas Isn’t Just For Kids

20091224 christmas eve - 24

You will be inundated with toy request from charities the next few weeks. There will be Toy Mountains to build, Toy Trains to fill and Toys for Tots to be wrapped. But Christmas isnt just for kids, it’s for all of us to remember what it’s like to be kids.

Santa’s Secret Service is a fabulous Calgary charity that tries to bring some magic of childhood to seniors living in care facilities. Those who have managed to outlive their family, or don’t have any nearby to celebrate the season.

Simply register at the site and you will be given the description of a senior and what they’d like for Christmas.

Donna Jones founded Santa’s Secret Service after spending some time in a care facility visiting with the residents.

“I learned that many seniors living in care facilities have no family and few friends to provide them with much needed support. I also discovered that many of these isolated seniors do not receive gifts at Christmas time, other than the token gifts given to every resident in the facility.”

Christmas isn’t just for kids.

My grandmother died last year and I can’t think of a better way to take the money I would have spent on a gift for her and pass it around to these seniors.

I’ve “adopted” a 62 year old man and 85 year old woman this year. He is just like a teenage boy. He loves watching hockey and playing cards and would like some Tshirts, gloves and a hockey magazine.

She is just like my grandmother wishing for body lotion, mixed nuts and an electric blanket.

I can’t wait to go out this week and get their gifts. Christmas isn’t just for kids, it’s for the kid in all of us.

If you have yet to find a way for you to give back this holiday season, join me and my family by becoming a member of Santa’s Secret Service.

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