My name is Laura Ely and I am a member of both the Team Type 1 – SANOFI Triathlon team and Women’s Cycling team. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 4 years old and as of this January 2012 I’ll have had diabetes for 23 years! Growing up I was extremely shy about having diabetes. All of that changed for me after attending a diabetes camp where for the first time in my life I met other kids who had the disease. We learned the importance of having PMA or a Positive Mental Attitude not just with diabetes but all things in life. I really took that message home with me and from there on out embraced life with diabetes.
Team Type 1-SANOFI returns to Rwanda for a second year to compete at the 2011 Tour of Rwanda and spread the message that people with diabetes can live normal and productive lives with access to the essentials of diabetes care. In a country where diabetes is a death sentence, Team Type 1 will deliver blood glucose meters and over 100,000 test strips to patients in need, and also conduct diabetes care training sessions with patients and healthcare professionals across the country.
Team Type 1 will be joined by U.S. Embassy representative Jim Greene and singer/songwriter J.R. Richards of the alternative rock band Dishwalla whose son has Type 1 diabetes. Richards will play a concert at a special event to be held for the team at the Embassy and perform for fans at the finish of each stage of the Tour. Diabetes education will be led by leading endocrinologist and founder of Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD.org), Dr. Steven Edelman, who brings his expertise to the local caregivers about prevention, early detection and aggressive management of diabetes and its complications.
The men’s professional cycling team, which includes athletes with Type 1 diabetes, will compete in the eight day tour while Team Type 1-SANOFI’s development team will participate as diabetes ambassadors, riding the route each day in advance of the official start and meeting healthcare providers and patients in each district.
About Team Type 1
Based in Atlanta, GA, Team Type 1 began as a grassroots initiative to motivate people to take control of their diabetes using cycling as a platform. Partnering with global healthcare leader, SANOFI, it grew to become a world-class athletic program for elite athletes with diabetes across cycling, running and triathlon, including a professional men’s cycling team competing highest levels of the sport. Today, it is a global sports organization radically changing the lives of people around the world with diabetes through racing, groundbreaking research, international outreach and humanitarian initiatives in developing countries.