Diabetes Forecast

Carpe Diem: The Life List

By Dan Hirst , ,
dan hirst and wife karin in Utah dessert riding all-terrain vehicles

Dan Hirst and his wife, Karen, ride all-terrain vehicles during a trip through Utah in 2012.

Recently I have had the chance to reflect on my life. At 56 years young, I have a wonderful life, a wonderful wife, and two wonderful daughters. As I reminisced (to myself), I came up with what I thought was a pretty cool list of the things I’ve done:

  • Flown in a hot air balloon
  • Flown in a helicopter to a glacier in Alaska, then dogsledded on the glacier
  • Became certified to scuba dive
  • Worked as a lead pyrotechnician and performed hundreds of fireworks shows for hundreds of thousands of people
  • Put thousands of miles on many different snowmobiles
  • Competed in four different types of off-road motorcycle events
  • Ridden thousands of miles all over the Northeast on two-wheeled and three-wheeled motorcycles
  • Spent four days riding dirt bikes through Nevada
  • Gone whitewater rafting in class IV rapids
  • Barrel raced on horseback
  • Spent two days on horseback traveling over 60 miles to raise money for a local charity
  • Ridden Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and more all over New York state lakes
  • Visited 35 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, plus Puerto Rico and Saint Martin
  • Cochaired the position of volunteer coordinator for the 2012 and 2013 American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure® here in Rochester, New York, with my wife, Karen

So why am I sending this to Diabetes Forecast? All of this wonderful life has happened while living with type 1 diabetes. When I was diagnosed in 1966, everyone spoke about my “condition.” But even in the early days of urine testing and sterilizing glass syringes, diabetes really never held me back. It certainly has made for challenges in my life, but everyone has something special to deal with as well. I have seen a lot of changes, all for the better, in all aspects of diabetes. And I believe a cure is not far off.

But the real reason I write this is that I truly hope that some young person or recently diagnosed adult will read this and realize that, yes, diabetes is a bummer, but it does not have to bum you out.

Get out there and live the life you want to live.

Dan Hirst spent 30 years in the automotive industry and 15 as a pyrotechnician for fireworks shows. He currently lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife, Karen.

E-mail us @: replyall@diabetes.org

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