Diabetic Connect's Voices of Diabetes series gives members of the diabetes community the opportunity to share their personal challenges, insights, and life experiences with a larger audience. We hope these stories inspire and encourage you to find your own voice as a diabetes advocate. If you would like to share your story, contact us at email@example.com. Visit the Voices of Diabetes page on Diabetic Connect for more in the series.
Ryan Reed is a NASCAR driver with type 1 diabetes. But for Reed, it's not the first lap around with the blood-glucose disease.
The California native was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17, and was told he would never race again. Rather than quitting, Reed made lifestyle changes that included a strict diet and exercise program, as well as the use of devices to provide on-track data. He also reports all of his information to his medical team at University of Southern California's Clinical Diabetes Program in California, which assured him that with hard work, he could still race.
Reed, at 21 years old, hit the tracks in Atlanta for a full weekend of racing capped off by the 500-mile showdown.
Reed's racing career started at a young age. After launching into the Kid's Kart Track Championship at age 4, the young driver became the Junior 1 Comer and HPV Karting Track Champion. In 2009, Reed was crowned the Legends Division Track Champion at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. He followed that up by winning 2010 Rookie of the Year.
Afterward, the young speedster went to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, with his best finish of 16th at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
In late 2013, Reed announced a partnership with the American Diabetes Association's "Drive to Stop Diabetes."
"I want to let them know that even when living with diabetes, accept no limits," Reed said on the Drive to Stop Diabetes' website.
He also founded his non-profit organization called Ryan's Mission to help raise awareness and touch the lives of the millions of people affected by this disease. To many, Reed serves as a powerful reminder that diabetes doesn't have to slow anyone down.
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