Lilly Diabetes Pulls T1D Racecar Driver’s Sponsorship-What Grinds My Gears

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Conor Daly and Cut The B.S. Girl, Arlene at ISM Raceway April 2018

Lately, I’ve been listening to a Podcast by two Indycar Drivers, James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi called “Off Track with Hinch and Rossi.” On that podcast, they occasionally have a segment called, “What Grinds My Gears,” where they talk about pet peeves or what sets them off.  I woke up today reading a story and as I read it, I found that it really…grinded…my gears.  Anyhow, here’s the story:

Lilly Diabetes, has pulled sponsorship of Conor Daly, a racecar driver, living, driving, and thriving with T1D, because of a potential racial slur his dad, Derek Daly, made before Conor was even born.  If that isn’t the largest load of crap ever.

“Unfortunately, the comments that surfaced this week by Derek Daly distract from this focus, so we have made the decision that Lilly Diabetes will no longer run the No. 6 at Road America this weekend.”

What grinds my gears here is the fact that Conor, who is working to be quite the advocate of self care with diabetes (Type 1 or 2), has lost sponsorship dollars as a result of something he had no control over.  It would have been one thing if he lost his sponsorship because the kid decided not to work out and decided to eat junk food in preparation of this NASCAR Xfinity Road America race, but that is just not the case.  It’s even documented in this video.

They call themselves company that is focused on raising awareness for treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes.  To me, it seems that this action of pulling Conor’s sponsorship is a bigger distraction to both the racing and diabetes communities.  The kid has done nothing wrong to lose said sponsorship.

If we all lost something that could affect our livelihoods as a result of something our parents said or did, well, we just would not progress as a society.  It’s bullshit.

In addition, its pretty ironic that Lilly Diabetes would be so unforgiving considering the product they sell to us people with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes, insulin, is a product that aids us in forgiving the number we see on the meter, correcting immediately with said insulin, and then getting back on track with our lives.  We as people with diabetes can’t even boycott, because our insurance dictates which insulin to use, regardless of what we discuss is best with our doctors.

I was so excited to watch Conor too as I haven’t even looked at NASCAR in years, despite Ryan Reed also being a driver with Diabetes.  I’m still gonna watch Conor this weekend but just with a tinge of irritation for Lilly.

I’ve been following Indycar and it’s drivers, since my then boyfriend, now husband, took me to a qualifying day at the Long Beach Gran Prix in 2003, and subsequently, we got engaged after that race.  I was a fan of Charlie Kimball, another Indycar driver with T1D, when he was in Indy Lights even before I was diagnosed with Diabetes myself in 2012.

Good luck this weekend, Conor!  Good vibes, back on track, keep driving, and get on that podium!

Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day 1: I Can

Ideas have been floating in my mind about how I was going to start this week’s series of blogs.  This is my first Diabetes Blog Week, and honestly, I’m a little nervous.  How am I going to knock it out of the park?  

I thought about listing all the things I have been able to do since I was diagnosed.  I thought about the fact that after I got home from a week long stay at the hospital, my muscles had weakend and I couldn’t even get up the stairs without crying. And how with determination, I am now able to run up and down those stairs daily.  I thought about talking about my first time eating out at a restaurant with my husband and diabetes and how his encouragement of not being ashamed to check my blood sugars in public and take my insulin in public has given me the strength to be able to do so many other things with him, our girls, and diabetes.  I thought about all the places we have travelled to since then and the people with diabetes I’ve met along the way.  I thought about talking about my JDRF walk team #teamcuttheBS and how much we’ve raised together and how proud I am of the work we’ve done. 

Today’s post is meant to talk about something that I am proud of accomplishing.  And as proud as I am of all these things, nothing beats the text, email, or private message from one of my friends online who has been struggling with the notion of even checking his/her blood sugars.  When I get that message from someone after they see a post of my meter that reads 238mg/dl asking me how I responded or the message that says, “I checked mine today too!”  Or “I found my meter, I can start checking again.”  Or the beer someone bought me because she was no longer “pre-diabetic.”  I’d say those are the accomplishments I find most dear.  

Why? Because until I sat in a room where everyone else checked their blood sugars, every time I checked my blood sugar, I felt alone.  I find it impossible that I am the only person to feel this way.  Why did I feel alone? No one else had to do it, no one else really had to react at the number that comes up (unless it’s super low and I’m passed out on the floor,) and no one else around feels the guilt I do when the number is “out of range” high or low. Loneliness sucks and I wish it on no one.

If I can help someone to find the strength in themselves, to get out that effing meter, prick themselves and brave whatever number flashes on that screen, then I have it it me to do anything.