Raise Your Voice for Type 1 Diabetes Blog Post...

Today diabetics blog-wide are "raising their voices" for Type 1 Diabetes. For lots of great posts, just visit Kerri. On this blog, though, we'll continue my own personal war with the Medtronic Global Heroes program.

Over at InsulinFactor - a group I read but don't often post to, there have been a lot of cool posts about the program, so I thought I'd share some of them here.
For starters, though, don't miss Jerry's comprehensive complaint here.

Now, here's what you can find from InsulinFactor:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my opinion about the Medtronic Global Heroes campaign.

First, I applaud your efforts to motivate, recognize, and reward people affected by chronic illness to pursue an active lifestyle.

However, I am disappointed and rather disgusted by the clause that states "Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years, are ineligible." As a 32 year old, living with type 1 diabetes for over 18 years, this rule reminds me of the blanket bans from the early-to-late 1990's. Those discriminating blanket bans were replaced with a fair and comprehensive system of determining whether or not a person with diabetes is safely able to perform a task or duty.

Your rule doesn't account for those individuals who are 40+ and have responsibly taken an active role in managing their diabetes. Managing diabetes is hard work which includes: exercise, using an insulin pump, counting carbohydrates, seeing their diabetes team and the countless other things necessary for good control and a low A1C.

Interestingly, through your ban, 3 of the 8 members of Team Type 1, the all-diabetes cycling team that won and set the record for the 2007 Race Across America, aren't eligible to be a "Global Hero." My guess is that those Team Type 1 members are in better physical and cardiovascular shape than the medical director who created your ban.

I would like to suggest an alternate approach to the ban. Why not require all candidates with diabetes to submit a completed "diabetes and cardiovascular health" form that is signed by a board certified Endocrinologist? This way, everyone, including you, is covered.

You should know that I am the founder of Insulin Factor, the website and online chat group dedicated to athletes with diabetes. We currently have over 250 active members who share questions, stories, and goals related to diabetes and exercise. You should also know the Insulin Factor chat on your ban has been very negative. Through this ban, you have alienated one of your key customer segments: people who want to actively manage their diabetes. Some Insulin Factor members expressed their strong disappointment and will no longer do business with Medtronic.

Thank you for listening and I hope you will eliminate the ban.

Regards,
Matt Vogel

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I don't understand why the TRULY heroic runners -- those who have been working with Type 1 diabetes for more than 15 years -- should be excluded. Personally, I have been diabetic since age 9 -- 43 years ago -- when it was still called "juvenile diabetes". I rode 100 hilly miles in 7 hours 44 minutes at age 21, after technology had advanced to the point that I could urinate on a strip of tape and see how much glucose had passed into my urine since my last check. For the last five years I have been working with an endocrinologist who started in sports physiology, and she sees no reason why I shouldn't do one of the diabetes group benefit 100 km and 100 mile rides THIS year. I have no neuropathy, retinopathy, or heart ailments. The nurse before a recent minor surgery made me check with my doctor because my resting pulse was 46 bpm. But as my knees are sensitive to impact loads I try to minimize my running. So you needn't worry -- you won't ever have to deal with me personally.

I will, however, be telling all of my diabetic acquaintances and support groups of your arbitrary and discriminatory policy. I imagine you will be getting a lot more feedback

Pete Barton
53 year old Type 1 diabetic

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I am due for a new pump. After 17 years with a Minimed, I guess they are not
interested in having me as a customer! You would think they would want to draw
attention to people like us and take some credit, instead of banning us.
I rode out the nonsense after Medtronic bought Minimed, but this has enraged me.
Angela
T1 35 years
Triathlons 5 years
1st Ironman this fall

As a 41 year old whose had type 1 diabetes for 29 years, my last HA1c was 5.9 and my clinicians have told me I'm in excellent cardiovascular shape. I continue to live an active, healthy lifestyle...like many Insulin Factor participants, I've also run marathons and have been a certified scuba diver for years (which at one time was considered a no-no with diabetes).

There are many motivated type 1 diabetics that are perhaps healthier than others without diabetes...we've been educated and inspired to work hard at our health. I am very grateful I'm no longer using a Medtronic insulin pump and will continue to avoid their products.

Best regards,
Christine

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