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By Ashley Sharp
October 30, 2022 / 9:37 PM / CBS Sacramento
ELK GROVE — A Captain with the Cosumnes Fire Department who lives with Type 1 diabetes is running in the New York City Marathon to inspire others with the health condition.
Captain Eric Williamson lives life with a mission, whether it’s strapping into his fire gear or lacing up his running shoes to train for his next marathon.
Every day, Williamson arms himself with a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor and a tandem insulin pump that communicate as if they are Williamson’s pancreas daily. They’ve survived every fire call and every 20-mile run.
“It’s another part of me. As my kids call me, I’m a robot,” said Williamson.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Type 1 diabetes is one of three forms of diabetes. Type 1 is caused when your body has an autoimmune reaction that stops you from making insulin. About 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1.
Williamson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 7 years ago.
“I am a perfect example of somebody who ignored every single sign and symptom for a while, and when I was finally diagnosed, it answered all of those questions,” said Williamson. “On that day, I knew I could still live a long, healthy life and do what I wanted to do.”
It is a diagnosis he refuses to let define him.
“There is no limit. If you put your mind to it, you can do a lot,” said Williamson.
He’s preparing to run his 7th marathon, the 2nd since his diagnosis, on Sunday, Nov. 6, in New York City, the largest marathon in the world.
Williamson, alongside 50 other Type 1 diabetics from around the globe, are running the marathon together with the hope of inspiring others just like them.
“They don’t have to run a marathon. But if they have a goal and a dream they want to accomplish, I hope they look at the 50 of us and realize, ‘if they can do it, I can do this. I can do that,'” said Williamson.
Tiana Cooks is in charge of the running team called “Beyond Type Run.”
“The stigma is a barrier that we are working really hard to knock down,” said Cooks.
She works for the nonprofit “Beyond Type 1,” which aims to spread awareness about the disease and help those battling it daily. She says those marathon runners crossing the finish line care less about the medals and more about the message.
“They show us what actually is possible, and they help us attack those stigmas,” said Cooks.
For Williamson, fighting fire and diabetes daily is possible thanks to early detection and perseverance.
“You learn from the days that aren’t going so well, embrace the days that are going well and take what you’ve learned from both days and move on to the next day,” said Williamson.
He uses his story to relate to others as they work to cross finish lines of their own.
“Sometimes it’s hearing their stories, and I tell them my story. I had one kid tell me, ‘I want to be like you.’ And I said, ‘you can do that. You can absolutely do that,'” said Williamson.
November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when advocates hope to share the importance of early detection, paying attention to warning signs and symptoms, and seeking out a doctor if something seems off. They say it might just save your life.
For details on signs and symptoms, visit the American Diabetes Association website.
First published on October 30, 2022 / 9:37 PM
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©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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