Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. It changes the lifestyle of those it inflicts, to where they are incapable of doing certain things. Diabetes is a disease that there are different types of. Type 1 Diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is when your body cannot produce the hormone insulin(Diabetes). While Type 2 Diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is like Type 1, however, it has the added effect of not processing insulin as well(Diabetes). Among the nearly 26 million American adults and children living with diabetes there is an elite group of professional athletes, who have not to succumb to their condition and have achieved greatness(Bryan).
These are a few life stories about these men and women. The Olympics is where some of the most athletic people in the world go to. These men and women train for hours on end to perfect there event and hope that their hard work will pay off. When Olympic swimmer Gary Hall Jr. learned he had type 1 diabetes while training for the 2000 summer games in Sydney, Australia he was devastated(Bryan). How he learned of his condition when he was training, he fought exhaustion, dehydration, and an inexplicable 20-pound drop in weight, and one day when he fainted he was rushed to the hospital. He then learned that he had type 1 diabetes.
Despite this his determination to strive for gold was relentless. Instead of listening to his doctors who told him to should stop his training he instead learned all he could about diabetes and how he could manage it with rigorous training. When learned that the key to managing his diabetes was his diet He first drastically changed his diet to watch his calorie and carbohydrate intake. So his diet consisted of yogurt, fruit, skinny pasta and performance bars all with the thought that these would make him perform without debilitation(Darby). He also put himself through an extreme exercise regimen for Olympic athletes which pushed his body to the limits.
The combination of these two things and his determination won him two gold medals, a silver, and a bronze at the 2000 Olympics. One of the most popular worldwide sports, baseball is beloved by many. It is a game know to be the everyman’s game meaning anyone can play baseball even someone with diabetes can play professionally. This man is David “Boomer” Wells was a major league baseball pitcher who played for many teams but was considered to be one of the better left-handed pitchers in the league during his time. Especially during his years with the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. He was also the one to pitch the 15 perfect game in baseball history in 1998(Baseball).
This was amazing considering on March 2006 he told his fans that he had type 2 diabetes. At the time, he told the media he was concerned but vowed to make lifestyle changes, “to beat it”(Bryan). He was lucky to be diagnosed with it near the end of his baseball career instead of during it. However, this did not change the fact he needed to make huge lifestyle changes. Since the only thing he had at that age to combat diabetes was his diet because age had gotten to him at this point.
Having to cut most of his diet he was still able to pitch a final few seasons before retiring. He has changed his career from a baseball player to a baseball commentator and active supporter of fighting diabetes. So researching this topic made me realize that even though there may be unfair situations in life there are still ways to overcome shortcomings and succeed.
Diabetes is just one disease that has affected millions of great people, and there are even more diseases out there that can tear families apart. However, if there are people to inspire the hope in the afflicted sharing what they are going through I feel the world will change. So to all those who dream of achieving greatness even though you might have a handicap compared to others don’t let that stop you.
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