Chris Southwell was unexpectedly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago. He is 30 years old and a professional extreme snowboarder and is recognized as one of the UK’s leading professional free ride snowboarders.
Instead of letting this hinder his life and career, he decided to use his experiences and positive outlook to help others. He does a number of lectures around the world on living as a professional extreme athlete with diabetes and is an ambassador for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
(JDRF) in the UK. He believes that if you have the right control, determination, positive outlook and attitude you can achieve even your wildest of dreams. His latest venture is being launched on World Diabetes Day: 7C7A – 7 challenges in 7 continents. These events are:
- July 2013 – Iron Man Zurich (Europe)
- October 2013 - 100 miles Himalaya stage race (Asia)
- January 2014 – Trans Andre Challenge (South America)
- May 2014 – Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa)
- November 2014 –Antarctic Ice Marathon (Antarctica)
- February 2015 – Coast to Coast (Australasia)
- July 2015 - New York to Miami (cycling) (North America)
There will be opportunities to join him in two of the challenges: climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling New York to Miami which will be set up into stages so people can decide how far they would like to bike.
In Chris’s eyes the 7C7A challenge is about achieving what some people may see as impossible and he will be pushing himself to new limits but he wants to use his challenge to educate, inspire and motivate people with diabetes to live their life to the full and help people to get active and learn to manage their chronic illness rather than it controlling them. His motto is ‘you can still live your dream’ – he certainly is!
To many young people he is inspirational in his untiring work for diabetes. How he copes with his career, which does not exactly go hand in hand with injecting insulin four times a day in extreme circumstances, is certainly good reason for Chris being a WDD Hero!