Since he was three years old, Hamish Beadle has gone about his life juggling type-1 diabetes. It has created some challenges for the James Hargest College pupil, but Beadle hasn't reached for the excuses because of it.
His diabetes hasn't held him back at all as the 16-year-old Southlander has developed into one of New Zealand's best young track cyclists. He won a stack of medals at the National Track Cycling Championships this year and has his eye the Oceania Championships in October.
Before that, though, Beadle will make a trip to the United States this month.
The trip will be a chance for him to advance his cycling prospects and also learn more about how best to juggle his diabetes with his sporting ambitions.
Beadle has been granted an all-expenses-paid trip by Novo Nordisk - a global pharmaceutical company that also sponsors cyclists, triathletes and runners who have diabetes.
Beadle was made aware of it by fellow track cyclist Stephanie McKenzie, who also has type-1 diabetes.
It prompted him to have a look online at what might be available to him, originally thinking some "free team kit" could be available.
"We thought we could get some team kit off them and they emailed back and said they had a talent ID camp and asked what dates I would like to go," he said yesterday.
"We went from going for a bit of free kit to getting a trip to America."
His couple of weeks in the States will involve a week-long camp, where training will be staged in the morning and classroom-type sessions in the afternoon.
Those afternoon sessions will see the 13 or so cyclists, from all over the world, learn about how best to manage their diabetes.
Beadle is delighted to get such a great opportunity.
"It will be good to see just what they do to manage it and all the different things they have tried. It will be pretty cool."
The Southlander admits having diabetes has delivered some unique challenges but is pleased it hadn't held him back.
"It's hard but you just have to manage it. I've had it since I was about 3 so it has just been a part of life for me; I haven't known any different."
Beadle has been able to talk with McKenzie about carving out a cycling career while managing diabetes.
He will soon join her in getting a insulin pump installed to help him further.
"She has got the insulin pump, which is basically a wee computer that you have in your body which does it all automatically. I'm just on the injections, which I've got to do by myself," he said.
What is type-1 diabetes?
Diabetes is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range. Everyone needs some glucose in their blood but if it's too high it can damage your body over time. Type-1 diabetes is an "auto-immune" condition. Basically, the body sets up an attack against the cells within it that make insulin. These cells are called beta cells and are isolated in the pancreas. The result is that the body does not produce any insulin (or very little). When does type-1 diabetes normally occur? Type-1 diabetes most often occurs in childhood, often in children aged between 7 and 12 years. However, it can occur at any age – from tiny babies to very old people. Source: Diabetes New Zealand
- Article courtesy The Southland Times