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The Type 1 Challenge is a personal journey not just a physical challenge

From April 29th to May 4th 2019, a dedicated group of riders will tackle a huge challenge – cycling 1,100 kms for type 1 diabetes research. This epic journey over 6 days is not just a physical one, but an emotional and very personal one for many of the riders who have a direct connection to type 1 diabetes, and have the person that they love in their minds as they take on this challenging course. Having raised $85,000 already, this group of 14 cyclist is on their way to making a huge impact to type 1 diabetes awareness and research, and we stopped to chat with Michael Krausz recently to understand more about why this is so important to them.

Tell us about your personal connection to Type 1 Diabetes

Our son Nixon was diagnosed at 2.

After being very ill one day with what we thought was a bad cold/virus or even the flu.  Our Day Carer called to say Nixon was not his usual self (which he hadn’t been for days really), she was happy to keep him till the end of the day but mentioned he was extremely thirsty and drinking lots of water, along with going to the toilet too. When we got him home, he had blue lips, that even after a warm bath did not disappear, my wife thought pneumonia. We discussed another Doctor’s visit in the morning, however after he had vomited, she took him to the emergency department because things just weren’t right. After only a short time of further testing a clinical diagnosis was given.

I will never forget that call from my wife telling me he had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was in total shock, I didn’t believe my wife, and it was extremely hard to come to terms with.  We had no knowledge of the disease and it was a pretty overwhelming feeling initially. The hospital staff that cared for Nixon initially were just amazing. They were very supportive and comforting to both Nixon and us as a family.

It was a steep learning curve for us all, with no history or experience of Type 1 Diabetes in the family.  We felt quite helpless at first, especially in those very early stages, he was quite sick for some time. His older sister, Wynter (6) was also concerned, she still worries constantly about him. Whenever he has an appointment or a hospital visit, she doesn’t think he will come home.  Being so young she simply did not understand why we had to constantly prick his finger, test him and monitor him 24/7.  But it you ask her about diabetes, she is able to give you the most detailed explanation, you would think you are discussing Nixon with a medical professional.  Nixon initially used to get very frustrated and did not understand why we had to wake him to test him and feed him at all hours of the night. Now it’s just ‘him’!

What motivated you to join to Type 1 Challenge?

As a keen rider, I’ve always been interested in charity rides and contemplated undertaking one for some time.  I had been following the JDRF One Ride and Type 1 challenge and I really wanted to do something for Nixon and my family, the Challenge made perfect sense to me. I was considering joining the 2018 Type 1 Challenge, but as Nixon diagnosis was still very raw, I felt I needed to be with my family. So I followed it very closely.  It’s fantastic that this year the ride’s journey is throughout some beautiful landscape in Victoria.

What does your son think about you participating in the ride?

Nixon is now 4 years old and very much understands what I am training for, although every time I go out training at the moment he says “Daddy are you going on my diabetes ride?” He associates me riding with diabetes which is great but I am sure when he is a little older he will understand the full reasons why. But having said that, he has become more aware of what we need to do to maintain his Type 1 diabetes. He has no fear with administering his own finger pricks that’s for sure! And whenever he hears the word ‘diabetes’, on radio or television, he is on to it!!!

How has training been going?

I’ve been a competitive rider for close to 15 years. I compete in the Latrobe Valley area regularly at club level, I’m usually on the bike at least 5 days a week.  The Type 1 Challenge have a Strava group, because we are all spread across the state, with this group we can keep track of individual’s progress. There are also ride that have been organised, when the group meets up and rides together, I’m looking forward to joining the one that is coming up, leaving from St Kilda. It will be great to meet the others that I’m following on Strava before the challenge.

What are you most looking forward to with the event and what do you wish to achieve by doing it?

I am most looking forward to riding with the group as a team, sharing stories and gaining insight from other’s experiences with T1D, especially those that have T1D, how as an athlete they manage this disease.  And whilst raising funds for JDRF Australia!

You can follow Michael and the Type 1 Challenge’s journey online https://www.instagram.com/type1_challenge/?hl=en

To donate to Michael and the Type 1 Challenge visit

https://bluearmy.jdrf.org.au/event/type-1-challenge/home

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