There is one thing people living with diabetes need to learn – possibilities do not vanish after diagnosis. Team Novo Nordisk, is on a mission to show that if you are living with diabetes, you are still able to live life the way you’d hoped.
At 19 years old, Stephen Clancy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Stephen was a competitive cyclist and had just come off the best cycling season of his life. At the time of his diagnosis, his medical team told him that type 1 diabetes was one of the most difficult conditions to manage, and cycling, especially endurance cycling, is going to be almost impossible.
His doctor’s recommendation on that day was “you can do a mile”. For a painful and tearful 24 hours, Stephen thought he was never going to be a cyclist anymore.
Then Stephen remembered watching Team Novo Nordisk racing on TV. He did some research, learned more about the team and its all-diabetes cyclists, and it stood out to him that “if these guys can do it, why can’t I?”
“I was immediately inspired and motivated to face this new challenge head on,” says Stephen. “And with the support of the right healthcare team, I was able to cycle much more than just one mile!”
Today Stephen is a member of Team Novo Nordisk, not only as a rider but as an advocate on a mission to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes.
People with diabetes, especially those treated with insulin, face discrimination. According to a 2013 study (Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs), one in five people with diabetes feel discriminated against due to their condition.1,2 An even higher number, one in three of healthcare professionals were concerned about discrimination and said there was a “major need” for improvement in the acceptance of people with diabetes as equal members of society.3
The study showed that the perception of being discriminated against is associated, wherever it occurs, with a highly negative impact on relationships with family, friends or peers, work/studies, financial situation and psychological well-being.4
Knowledge is power and in an effort to fight discrimination, Team Novo Nordisk conducted its own survey to gather the perspectives of people living with diabetes, their partners and family members. In the ‘Setting the Record Straight’ survey, they asked questions targeted to the most commonly held myths and misconceptions.
One of the questions looked into the misconceptions that are the most frequently encountered. Figure 1 shows that food is a strong driver of ‘untruth’ when it comes to diabetes. As many of the Team Novo Nordisk riders attest to in myth busting videos, they can eat anything, despite living with diabetes, as long as they take their consumption into consideration when they take insulin.
A positive result from the survey was the perception that having diabetes does not stop people from pursuing their goals. In the case of Stephen, this myth is busted. Here’s another. Read 19 year-old Karolina Witek’s story of her struggle and triumph to do what they said could not be done. Karolina is from Poland and was inspired by Team Novo Nordisk when she came across a video of them on Facebook.
This story was originally shared as part of the November 3, 2016, edition Novo Nordisk’s TBL Quarterly.