People to Know: Andy Holder
Here's the thing about Andy Holder: When he decided to do an Ironman, he didn't know how to swim, didn't own a bike, and wasn't much of a runner. The grueling sport is taxing on all athletes, but Andy, then 36, had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In addition to mastering all three sports, Andy learned to manage his nutrition and balance his insulin to fuel his working muscles, all the while keeping his blood glucose as normal as possible.
He decided he was up for the challenge. He wanted to do something extraordinary, to show himself and the world that diabetes didn't have to be a hindrance.
Fueled by his desire to be a hero for his own children, Andy methodically prepared for the race. Along the way, he uncovered a talent for telling his story. I met Andy when he came to Camp WILD as our keynote speaker, and my first impression was, "Wow, here's a guy who walks his talk." He has a gift for speaking about his accomplishments in a way that evokes in his listeners determination, courage, and action.
In the seven years since his diagnosis, Andy (aka "Iron Andy") has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people, many of them children with diabetes. He explains how each of us can live an inspired and extraordinary life. To support his work to motivate others to action, he started the Iron Andy Foundation, which provides scholarships to summer camp for children with diabetes.
Mari Ruddy is founder of Team Red and the Red Rider/Red Strider program, works with the ADA's Tour de Cure, and is founder and director of Team WILD. She has type 1 diabetes.