Liv­ing with Type 1 di­a­betes

The Niagara Falls Review - - NEWS - KRIS DUBE

World Di­a­betes Day is a time to raise aware­ness about the dis­ease but also an op­por­tu­nity for those who live with it to cel­e­brate their abil­ity to carry on with a nor­mal life.

Chris Jarvis is an ex­am­ple of this: An Olympic rower di­ag­nosed with Type 1 di­a­betes at the age of 14 but didn’t back down from his dreams.

A special guest at Peace Bridge Pub­lic School on Tues­day morn­ing, Jarvis told close to 300 stu­dents about his story and how im­por­tant it is for them to know about the con­di­tion, along with how much peo­ple liv­ing with it need un­der­stand­ing from oth­ers.

“We need our friends to sup­port us – that’s why I was able to ac­com­plish so much more,” said Jarvis, a mem­ber of Team Canada from 2002 to 2009 who com­peted in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

He is a founder of I Chal­lenge Di­a­betes, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that was started af­ter he met an­other rower named Heather Van der Geest who com­peted with him on the na­tional team.

Jarvis feels kids who have the dis­ease are of­ten dealt a bad hand as their con­di­tion is not a re­sult of their own ac­tions.

“Kids who have noth­ing to do with their own health choices are di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes,” he said.

One area of fo­cus in Jarvis’ talk on Tues­day, the first of four in the day, was what peo­ple go through test­ing their blood and in­ject­ing in­sulin sev­eral times a day, al­ways hav­ing to be on alert if their blood sugar lev­els are too high or low, and the many other ef­fects that are at the fore­front of how peo­ple with di­a­betes are per­ceived.

“It’s im­por­tant that peo­ple don’t brush it off and think we eat too much sugar,” said Jarvis, who is from Grimsby.

“We put a lot of work into our health,” he added.

Sam DiMarco, a stu­dent at Cen­ten­nial Sec­ondary School in Wel­land, has been join­ing Jarvis on his tour of Ni­a­gara schools.

He is also a Type 1 di­a­betic who shared part of his story with stu­dents on Tues­day.

“We’re nor­mal peo­ple liv­ing nor­mal lives and we can do what we want,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Jarvis and his or­ga­ni­za­tion, visit www.ichal­lenge­di­a­betes.org.

Jarvis is a Pan-Am Games gold medal­ist. His group re­ceived char­i­ta­ble sta­tus in 2015 and he has been speak­ing at schools for about 12 years. Novem­ber is Di­a­betes Aware­ness Month.

KRIS DUBE/SPECIAL TO POST­MEDIA NEWS

Olympic rower Chris Jarvis and Cen­ten­nial Sec­ondary School stu­dent Sam DiMarco at Peace Bridge Pub­lic School on Tues­day. Jarvis and DiMarco, both Type 1 di­a­bet­ics, vis­ited sev­eral schools in Ni­a­gara on Tues­day for World Di­a­betes Day.

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