We R the Cure

Seeking Cures and Cheating Destiny


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Profiles In Courage: Country Singer, Elite Ironman Triathlete Call Diabetes Their Inspiration For Success

It’s what you might call “ironic” or perhaps it’s a family bond among all Type 1 Ds.

Country singer George Canyon and Ironman Triathlete Jay Hewitt came to Richmond recently to share their inspirational stories with the diabetes community. I don’t know if the Canadian singer and the United States athlete know each other or if they’ve ever met. But as the two men told their stories of living and winning with diabetes last March, they reached a surprisingly similar conclusion.

Country Singer George Canyon and We R the Cure Editor Mike Anderson

Country Singer George Canyon, left, and Mike Anderson at March 24 event in Richmond. Canyon said Type 1 diabetes is not an excuse for failing to achieve your dreams in life. George has a new single coming out soon, "Live Life First," with American Idol's Crystal Bowersox. Song is produced by AI's Randy Jackson.

“Do I wish that I didn’t have Type 1 diabetes? Absolutely,” George told a group of children, teen-agers, parents and young adults at the Animas Caregivers seminar in Glen Allen. “But I also think it is why I’ve been successful. I call it a goal-oriented disease. You set goals and you hit them; and you live your dreams.

“The kids I meet with diabetes are the most-driven kids I’ve ever met. We grow up and take responsibility at an early age. Your diabetes won’t stand in your way as long as you believe,” George said.

Just listen to Jay Hewitt, member of the U.S. National team, on his journey from a first-time marathon runner to a world class athlete, who also happens to have Type 1 diabetes.

“High achievers understand that this is a part of life. Your worst moments can be your best opportunities for success,”  Jay said to guests attending the Insulet/ Omnipod reception on March 15 in Richmond. “Diabetes is the best thing that ever happened to me. Am I saying that I’d rather have it than NOT have it? No. Of course not. But the cure is coming. And until it happens, it’s up to me to stay healthy.

“We drag our diabetes with us each step of every day. It’s a ball and chain. So ‘my diabetes’ better be able to swim because I’m going to drown it. It better be able to ride a bike because I’m going to pound it on the street. I will use every cell, every calorie, every ounce of energy that I have to win my race. And no matter how tired I am when I cross the finish line, I always have enough left to turn around and STEP DOWN HARD ON THE NECK of Diabetes. You must make diabetes the best thing that has ever happened to you. Use it as motivation.”

George and Jay gave positive testimony during their Richmond visits. They are “Profiles In Courage” and I thank them for showing us how to live, thrive and make no excuses. We R not Victims. We R the Cure. I recommend you check out George Canyon’s Facebook Page and Jay’s Finish Line Vision website. Also take a listen to George’s music on his You Tube page.

U.S. National Triathlete Jay Hewitt Keeps A Finish Line Vision

Elite Ironman Jay Hewitt has a Finish Line Vision for his life and his Type 1 diabetes.

I am the newest member of their fan clubs! Stay tuned for more from George and Jay’s visits in upcoming We R the Cure blog posts.

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