Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Team Blood Glucose Part 1 - the mHealth tour
Lately when people ask me what I do, unless they specify '...for a living', I answer something along the lines of a lot of cycling and some diabetes projects. I am not what I do for a living. Sure its a big part of my life, and I do enjoy writing programs and playing with data. Hey, I even did a PhD in the my field of work, so its certainly no small thing. Outside of my work life, I cycle 200km a week, I blog about diabetes and cycling and I am involved in the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) through twitter.
It is through twitter that I have met some great people. Many of them are super motivated to do something positive for the world of diabetes. Others are looking for emotional and practical support from the many other people out there on on social networks that are willing to help (One of the reasons I started this blog was to share my experiences dealing with diabetes so other people could learn from them).
The sense of community among people with diabetes is incredible. I regularly get messaged by twitter friends asking for advice, or just comparing notes on how are blood sugars are at that moment.
All those things have come together as one big project for me that contains a number of smaller and larger ones. Coincidentally I got involved with the DOC and twitter just a week before World Diabetes Day. It was a great day. I chatted to lots of people, I participated in tweetchats on a variety of topics, and I met many other people with people with Diabetes.
One of the people I met through Twitter, Paul, has been encouraging and enthusiastic from the get go. He had been diagnosed less than a year ago, in his 40s, with type 1 diabetes. Since then he has been determined to make a difference in the world of diabetes.
Paul suggested that I join the mHealth tour, a ride over two weeks from Brussels to Barcelona. He recommended that we do it as part of a new venture that he was working on. That venture is TeamBloodGlucose, which Pauls has founded as a not for profit organisation. He has sought out grants and sponsorship and has arranged for TeamBloodGlucose to be the official patient team for the mHealth tour. I am looking forward to being a part of this venture and especially to ride for 3 days across the Pyrenees and into Barcelona.
The goal of the tour is to showcase medical technology for diabetes care, to aid research on the effects of sport on diabetes, to raise awareness about diabetes and to encourage participation of people with diabetes in sport. This final goal is inline with TeamBloodGlucose's mission. We as an organization wish to do exactly that, to encourage participation in sport for the benefit of diabetic care. I am doing almost 600KM in 3 days with around 8000m of climbing. This will be the hardest, longest and highest I have ever been on my bike. Not only is it a challenge for me to get fit and strong enough to complete this event but managing my diabetes both in training and on the ride itself is no small feat.
Doing this as a team will allow us to give each other encouragement as well has having the support we need. It will also show others that this kind of thing is in reach. When I was first diagnosed I wondered if I was going to be able to be able to continue being active and involved in sports. But you do not need to look very far to find people who have competed at the highest level despite having diabetes. Our participation in this event says to people, "Hey, its not just superstar athletes with diabetes that can do serious sport, but anyone"
If you are reading this and are interested in the work that I am doing or in joining me on this tour or future rides, please contact me through this blog or Twitter as soon as possible. If you know of anyone that might be interested or that you think I should speak to let me know. Currently I am looking for diabetic cyclists, team and personal sponsors and donors, and in the future people with diabetes who want to get more involved in sport, old bikes (well I don't want them yet, but if you have one hang on to it for a bit for me please) and people that want to volunteer to help organize future events.
Finally regarding sponsorship. If you are a company, or know of one, that makes equipment or apps for people with diabetes and are interested on being well advertised by our events and participants, additionally we will have the opportunity to use the product and show it off, then please let me know. If you are involved in a company that has nothing to do with diabetes but would still like that association, publicity and knowledge that you are helping with a worthy cause that affects more than 300 million people worldwide, we are also interested in sponsorship. What we are trying to do will require some funding and if you can donate we would greatly appreciate it. If you would like to donate or sponsor me personally on my up coming ride across the Pyrenees then please go to the the TeamBG website and click on the donate button. Half the money you donate will go towards funding my entry into the ride and the other half will go directly to the TeamBG pot. If you do donate you will be contacted asking if you are donating on someone's behalf.
Thanks for your support, please get in touch and let me know what you think
Live long and stay healthy.