Team Diabetes members fundraise for diabetes research, support

Oliver Horton and his daughter Tess participated in a life-changing Team Diabetes event in Reykjavik, Iceland.   SUPPLIED 

Oliver Horton and his daughter Tess participated in a life-changing Team Diabetes event in Reykjavik, Iceland. SUPPLIED 

In 2013, Team Diabetes members took part in Conquer the Crater, a spectacular hike through some of Iceland’s most dramatic, unique landscapes.

A national, physical activity fundraising program developed and run by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), Team Diabetes promotes a healthy, active lifestyle while raising funds for education, programs and services, advocacy and “breaking ground toward a cure.”

The hikers completed a six-, 14- or 24-kilometre trek through an ancient glacial canyon to a stunning waterfall. Those in the longer hikes continued on, with those in the 24-kilometre hike ascending two craters before returning back to base along the same route.

Hike participants stayed in Reykjavik, a city famed for its lively and distinctive culture as well as being the world’s northernmost capital. A great base from which to explore the country’s glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, fjords and vast lava deserts, Reykjavik’s climate is surprisingly moderate: Its highest temperature, 28.2°C was recorded in July of 2008, and the temperature has not dropped to below -20°C since January 1971.

Oliver Horton was one of the Team Diabetes members who took part in Conquer the Crater, and his daughter Tess, who lives with type 1 diabetes, came along on the trip. Tess attended the celebration dinner with her dad, and was moved by the contributions of Team Diabetes participants as well as by a D-Camps video that was presented.

As a result, says Mr. Horton, Tess decided she wanted to go to D-Camps.

D-Camps is a national CDA program designed to provide children ages eight to 15 who are living with type 1 diabetes an authentic and exciting camp experience where they become independent in managing their diabetes.

When they returned to Canada from Iceland, Tess signed up for D-Camps at Camp Huronda in Muskoka. “She also asked if she could go on an insulin pump to get away from self-injection with needles,” says Mr. Horton.

He adds that both of those decisions were “a direct consequence of being involved with a Canadian Diabetes Association event.”

In August of this year, Mr. Horton participated in a Team Diabetes hike on Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. The route followed the coastline, with breathtaking views of the ocean, volcanic peaks and rain forests that have served as backdrops for movies such as Avatar, Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.

But Mr. Horton doesn’t participate primarily for the views, the experience or even the physical challenge.

“For me, Team Diabetes is about supporting research, finding a cure,” he says. “I don’t want anybody to have to look at their child and realize there isn’t a cure for their disease. That one thing alone is very difficult thing to do.

“And it’s about funding D-Camps, where kids can forget they have diabetes.”