What do a sales associate, a massage therapist, a family practice doctor and a library assistant have in common? All four will be participating in the 9th Annual Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes on Saturday, July 28. They will be either swimming or providing paddle support for the swimmers and all have a personal connection to diabetes. Three are parents of a child with diabetes and one lives with diabetes.
As Kristen Cambensy, mother of an 8 year old with type 1 diabetes says, “Swimming for 2 hours is not that much to endure compared to what my son goes through each day with his diabetes.” Since her son’s diagnosis at the age of three they have learned that diabetes is manageable and that there are worse things to have than diabetes. Dr. Mike Grossman agrees.
Dr. Grossman developed a personal interest in diabetes when his son Ben was diagnosed with the condition at the young age of 2 years. He used that interest to become not only more knowledgeable about diabetes care but became a long time volunteer and supporter of the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network (UPDON), a local program with national recognition. Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes grew out of his desire to raise diabetes awareness and support the local efforts UPDON was making to do the same. The swim, supported by Bell Hospital, first occurred in 2004 and has grown each year.
Melissa Nelson has participated in the swim for the last two years. An active person, Melissa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 33. Already an avid runner, she started swimming 12 years ago to train for a marathon. Although the distance of Swim Teal Lake was intimidating at first, she decided that participating in the swim was the perfect way to support local diabetes efforts and show that having diabetes doesn’t mean you need to stop doing the things you love; you simply need to plan ahead. Eating the right foods, being physically active, checking blood sugar levels and taking medications and insulin as needed are all part of it. Mother of a type 1 son, Dana Stine couldn’t agree more.
Dana offers her support to UPDON year round and is participating in the swim this year by acting as safety support for the swimmers. “Kayaking Teal Lake during the swim isn’t nearly as hard as swimming the two and a quarter miles but it’s important and it is something that I can do to help. I encourage both of my sons to be physically active knowing it is critical to good health and that’s what I like about this fundraiser. It promotes being physically active.”
Teal Lake Swim for Diabetes is the only major fundraiser of UPDON. It helps UPDON and its many partners identify needs to prevent, detect and treat diabetes among U.P. residents. The swim also promotes physical activity, which is critical to preventing type 2 diabetes as well as good health for those already living with diabetes. For more information about the swim or to donate, please call the UPDON office at 228-9203.