Gary VandenBergh

 

 

Gary VandenBergh

I was 30 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and consider it a blessing that the diagnosis came a little later in life. By then, I had the tools to become an active participant in my diabetes … and I deeply believe this is what counts in caring for diabetes, whether type 1 or 2. I make my living in the high-pressured, ever changing world of television post-production, where people work at a ridiculous pace for hours, days, even weeks at a time. I am very open about my diabetes, but most colleagues forget about it, because I have become expert at dealing with it and keeping it under control. When I’m under a deadline (which is always), the meals delivered from nearby restaurants don’t always address my health needs. I always have healthy snacks nearby—bananas, cereal bars, cheese, and an extra juice box. That is not to say those high-fat meals don’t find their way onto my dinner plate! I do a lot of blood tests and bolus corrections on my pump.

Since I was first diagnosed I’ve started and stopped race-walking, biking, gym, etc. I have recently been on one of my extended hiatuses. My daughter is active and has participated in various fundraising runs. Last March she informed me that she had started a team for the 2011 Tour de Cure fundraising bike ride to raise research money for the American Diabetes Association. She named the team DiaBEATit. How could I just sit there and watch? So I broke out the old bikes, had them spiffed up—and we rode 30 miles together in the 2011 Tour de Cure in New York City. What a day! I am disappointed that I will not be riding this year but exercise is back in my life and my A1C, blood pressure and Cholesterol have all benefitted immensely.

Now, all of my rides are for the most important team in my life; my wife, kids and my own health. I also ride for anyone touched by the constant struggle that diabetes is in everyday life. It is, for the most part, an invisible struggle. We in the diabetes community must stand up, make diabetes visible and inform the world that 366 million world-wide cases of diabetes in 2011 constitutes an epidemic that needs to be stopped.