Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summit Diabetes!

Sometimes I get contacted to promote a person or product. 99% of the time the email gets trashed from the subject line alone. It’s nothing against any one, okay, it is something against EVERYone. This one read, “summit diabetes” and had an intro about fundraising. I know I’m a heathen because I hate fundraising. I deleted the email. A couple days later something triggered me to go and read it. It was probably while I was bored sitting on the toilet. I immediately pulled the email from the trash and wrote back eagerly saying “Yes! I will write about you!”

Why? Because this is something I can relate to. Read on!

Note: I thiefed these pics off the website so you won't get any info about these two by clicking the pictures. Go to Summit Diabetes to learn more.

A 15year old girl, Haley with Type 1 Diabetes and her older brother Ethan will be embarking on a remarkable backpacking adventure. I pulled some of this info from their website and a bit of Q&A.

WHAT are you doing?

We plan to hike 221 miles on the John Muir Trail from Yosemite National Park to the top of the highest peak in the continental United States, Mount Whitney. Expecting to average roughly ten miles of alpine hiking per day, we will begin hiking on July 16th and finish three weeks later around August 6th. We are backpacking, meaning we will be carrying everything on our own backs for the entire duration of the hike. There will be two resupply points along the way for us to refill on food, while we can treat water from streams and lakes throughout the hike to stay hydrated. We will be hiking all by ourselves with no outside assistance other than resupply points along the trail.

It is quite the undertaking. I am crazy impressed. They leave in ONE WEEK!

Why are you doing this?

We're doing this hike to make a difference. To bring closer a much needed cure for those living with type 1 and relief to their loved ones. To show people living with this disease that it can in no way limit or define them unless they allow it to. To show the world that you can do anything you set your mind to regardless of where you are from, your age, your afflictions, or your circumstances.

Raising funds for research for this disease brings us one step closer to better and more affordable treatments. It brings us closer to a day where those with type one don't have to worry about losing their limbs, their eyes, their heart, or their life due to the constant struggles of managing it. And most of all, it brings us closer to a day where type 1 diabetes is no longer a threat of our future, but a problem of the past. We will not stop until that day comes, and when it does, we can say that we have persevered, overcome, and summitted diabetes.

How much money do you hope to raise?

After much deliberation, we decided to set our sights high and place our fundraising goal at $221,000, which represents $1000 per mile of the hike. Though it may seem a lofty goal for a 15 year old girl and her brother, we believe with enough help and support of those fighting for a cure for type 1 diabetes, it can be reached. Last summer Ethan and our brother Reid raised over $96,000 for Phoenix Children's Hospital, which saved his life a couple years back. Through the network of support for those with type 1 diabetes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, we believe that together, we can reach this goal and bring researchers one step closer to finding a cure. 

Where does the money go to?

100% of all the money raised goes straight to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. We will be financing the entire trip ourselves and will not be taking a single penny of donation money. The goal of our trip is to raise money to research for a cure for type 1 diabetes and we would never consider taking funds away from research to finance our expedition.

 "How are you going to manage your diabetes out in the middle of nowhere?"

I will be wearing my Animas One Touch Ping insulin pump, which I have been using for the past three years. Instead of injections, the pump is attached to me through a site with tubing that allows the insulin to be delivered. The site must be changed every two to three days. In addition to testing my blood sugar 8+ times per day, I will be using the Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which illustrates your blood sugar trends and warns you if your numbers are going too high or low. Additionally, we'll carry a glucagon kit in case of a dangerously low blood sugar.

Managing my diabetes will be in no way easy. The intense physical activity and altitude will make managing my blood sugars significantly more difficult. High and low blood sugars will be inevitably common, so we will be taking much extra food, glucose tablets, insulin, and a backup meter and pump to ensure we handle anything the backcountry throws at us.
A couple questions from the backpacker and T1D in me:
How are you going to prevent insulin from getting too hot (or too cold?) I'm not entirely familiar with the climate you're going into... What about altitude? will that mess up the pump and insulin requirements?

We have two Frio packs, one for my backpack and one for Ethan's in case something were to happen. All you have to do is soak it in water, and it keeps the insulin cool for up to 45 hours. At night, the temperatures might drop down to the 30's, so if that's the case, the insulin is coming into the sleeping bag with me. The entire trip will be a learning experience as far as dealing with altitude, etc. I usually run a bit higher in higher elevations, but on our most recent high elevation training hike (10,000-12,500 ft), I kept running low. So, it's definitely going to be a balancing act, but we'll be paying a lot of attention to my CGM the first few days to try to see how things go, and adjust accordingly. 

Are you prepared for emergencies? How do you prepare exactly? ie: pump malfunction and possibly needing a new one.. 

If any emergency happens, we'll be able to manage it. We got a loaner pump from Animas for the trip, so if something happens to mine, we have a spare. If something were to happen to that one, we will have extra syringes and Lantus with us as well. We will be using a SPOT Connect, which will allow us to send text messages and, if needed, SOS signals with our exact location. We'll have glucagon, cakemate, and, of course, 200 individual packets of honey for those unavoidable lows.

What do you eat? prepackaged camp food? homemade camp food? (I asked this because prepackaged camp food is calorie dense thus making it heavy on the carbs, I can’t really tolerate it while I’m camping even with exercise.)

As far as food goes, our goal is to carry as many calories in as little space as possible. I will be eating 3000 calories a day and Ethan will be eating about 4000. All of our food must be stored inside bear canisters, and we only have two resupply points. Our food is all store bought. We'll be carrying a small stove which we'll cook oatmeal, ramen, instant potatoes, a few of those typical prepackaged camp dinners, etc. You can guarantee we'll be sick of trail mix and clif bars after the hike is over, but it'll be worth it!
GOOD LUCK guys. What a great idea and a big adventure. I'm a bit jealous, I'd love to do something like this.
Although I stated above that I'm a heathen, should you choose to help them meet their fundraising goal please go to Summit Diabetes to do so. You're a better person than me for donating.


  1. This is so cool! It makes me want to go trekking. Good luck, Haley and Ethan. And have fun!

  2. What you're doing is great! I truly believe diabetes can be reversed because my mom reversed hers. So can anyone else!

    1. I only allowed this comment to be published so everybody can laugh with me at you.
      GFYS douchebag.

  3. SO COOL!
    (About the hikers only.)

  4. Thank you for all of your posts and your honesty. I don't know why I clicked on the douchebag's link above when I know I could trust your judgement. It made. me. so. mad!

  5. I am all about not allowing diabetes to interfere with what you want to do. But I'm not in any way athletic so all I do is run 5K's...and by "run" what I really mean to say is "jog the first half mile then spend the remaining 2.6 miles huffing to the finish line." High five to these kids! :)


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