I was 25 years old the first time I caught my first stand-up surfing wave. I was exactly 3 seconds older when I came plunging off it. But as impressive as my wipe-out was, that feeling of complete elation and (wildly exaggerated) sense of total accomplishment, is a feeling I believe everyone should have a chance to experience.
As a person with diabetes (PWD), surfing had its challenges: where to keep hypo treatments; how to adjust my insulin to cater for the increased exercise; how to cater for the adrenaline of that first wave. But with a team of people around me clued up on what to do and when, it wasn't impossible. In fact, I barely even remembered I had diabetes as I threw myself into the waves time and time again.
Adventure sports can be a daunting prospect for a person with diabetes. But it doesn't need to be impossible - far from it. And that's exactly what my brother Chris, a kayak and sailing instructor was thinking when he first told me about his idea to set up an organisation that would allow PWDs to try adventure sports in a safe environment - one that was mindful of the challenges faced in trying outdoor pursuits with the added dimension of diabetes. He also agreed completely as I poured over how incredible it would be to have people with diabetes have a chance to meet, share their experiences ad try something completely new together, knowing they would be safe while doing so. And that was how Adventure D was born!
Set up officially in February 2014, Adventure D weekends and holidays will always be led by people with extensive experience of diabetes or, wherever possible, with a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN) as part of the leadership team. That means you won't need to worry that your unique management style or personal needs will be overlooked in order to to keep pace with the group.
Adventure D will also offer the opportunity to get together with other people affected by diabetes, whether you have it yourself, or care for someone who does.
Our launch weekend will be taking place between 12th - 14th September 2014, and will be based at the incredible and unique CYE Sailing Centre in Chidham Harbour, West Sussex. Able to cater for 20 people in total, but with interest already flooding in, the weekend will take you from never-kayaked-before to having a developing set of skills. It will also give you the chance to mix and mingle with other people with diabetes. This weekend is best suited to people with type 1 as the advice on offer from the DSN leading the education programme on the weekend will be more applicable to those with type 1. But the plans for the first type 2 weekends are already in place!
And this is just the scratching the surface of where Adventure D is planning to go. Already under way are 2015 plans for more kayaking, surfing, skiing in Europe, traversing the peaks of the Lake District, sailing and even climbing!
If you want to know more about Adventure D or would like to express your interest in a spot on the kayaking weekend or any of the other events we are planning, please check out the Website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Register your interest now!