Kevin Powell, 43, loves sports. Powell, who is vice president at New Jersey insurance wholesaler FTP, has run 19 marathons, including four Boston Marathon qualifying times, and finished nine Ironman races. What makes his accomplishments all the more impressive is the fact that he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 24.
He is currently participating in a cross-country relay called Run Across America, as a member of Team Type 1. Together with 9 fellow runners who also have diabetes, Powell began the relay on Oct. 28 in Oceanside, California.
With alternating running shifts to keep the 3,000 mile trans-continental journey going around the clock, they hope to reach New York City on Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day.
The runners say they want to instill hope and inspiration for people affected by diabetes. With appropriate diet, exercise, treatment and technology, they say anyone with diabetes can achieve their dreams, even running across the country.
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in early 1993 — just shy of my 25th birthday,” Powell says. “Diabetes consumes my life, but that is not meant in a bad way. I feel that by facing it head on, I am better able to handle the ups and downs.”
Powell, a proud father of two daughters and an insurance veteran with more than 20 years’ experience, hopes his active lifestyle can be an inspiration for others diagnosed with diabetes.
“If I can help inspire even just one person with diabetes to work toward a personally meaningful goal, one they had thought their diabetes precluded, I will have been a success.”
“Don’t think that you have to try to fit your life into some preconceived notion of what limitations diabetes may place on your life,” he says. “Instead, live your life as you, and then work out a plan of how to fit your diabetes care into that life.”
Diabetes has helped show that bumps in the road only have to be that, bumps in the road, Powell adds.
“At times I struggle just like many do. If I can keep my A1c at the sustainable and constant level that my care management team has set, then that will be great with me.”
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