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Ryan Reed, 20, of Bakersfield, Calif., is chasing his dream to become a top NASCAR driver. He’s racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series events this year as a development driver for one of the top names in the sport, all while taking care of his type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes entered Reed’s life in February 2011, just as his career was taking off – he was Rookie of the Year, Super Late Model division, Toyota Speedway, at age 17. With a strong effort to continue on, Reed’s hopes grew as he read about other athletes competing with diabetes. He contacted Indy driver Charlie Kimball’s endocrinologist, Anne Peters, MD, who couldn’t promise he’d be able to compete but did promise that she’d help him seize every opportunity if he would strive for it. Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007.
Reed was determined, and connected with dieticians and personal trainers to help him conduct the insulin, eating and exercise plan he’d need to compete in top form. With their help, Reed works out with a mix of aerobic, weight, endurance and yoga training, and has a carefully balanced eating plan, which he regularly fine-tunes to ensure the optimal mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates for practice, race days and recovery.
Service to others is also a big part of Reed’s life. Soon after his diagnosis, he formed a nonprofit organization, Ryan’s Mission, to help build awareness and positively touch the lives of people that have been affected by diabetes. He enjoys the special bond he has with people living with diabetes.
Ryan and his Mission have joined forces with the American Diabetes Association’s efforts by creating the Drive to Stop Diabetes(SM) campaign, with awareness and educational events organized at select NASCAR Nationwide races, as well as at several off-track health and wellness initiatives throughout 2013. So far this year, Reed’s No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes Ford Mustang has appeared at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the American Diabetes Association to help give back to those in the diabetes community by creating awareness and educating people on this disease,” he says. “As one of the nearly 26 million people living in the U.S. with diabetes, I hope to inspire others living with diabetes to not let it interfere with reaching their dreams.”
During American Diabetes Month(R) this November, Reed and the Drive to Stop Diabetes team will be supporting the Association’s A Day in the Life of Diabetescampaign. The Association will continue to ask people to submit a personal image to their Facebook mosaic representing what diabetes means to them at www.DiabetesMosaic.org. To make the mosaic more impactful this year, Reed’s Drive to Stop Diabetes car will be wrapped with photos from the mosaic and will be featured at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9.
“I encourage everyone to upload their picture representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them on the Association’s Facebook mosaic for a chance to be on the Ford Mustang in Phoenix,” says Ryan.
For more information on Drive to Stop Diabetes, please visit www.DriveToStopDiabetes.org.