“My 11 year old son Eli was diagnosed 7 months ago and Riding on Insulin just lit up his world! He loved connecting with his T1D peers and Riding with the most amazing team of instructors! Thank you for this amazing weekend!” – Parent of an ROI camper
Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects 1.25 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In those with T1D, the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone necessary for survival and getting energy from food. Only 5-10 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States are Type 1, according to the JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
Founded by pro snowboarder and T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) Sean Busby in 2004, Riding on Insulin was born out of Sean's desire to give back to kids who inspired him to keep snowboarding after a complicated diagnosis. After being diagnosed at the age of 19, he read stories of kids and teens living with T1D through the JDRF Children's Congress event online. He figured if they could do it (and know life no different), then surely so could he. He wanted to give back to those kids for inspiring him, and thus: Riding On Insulin was born! Sean has ridden for 686 for a few years, and 686 continues to be a huge supporter of ROI and its mission to keep kids and teens active and teach them the sports of skiing and snowboarding.
ROI has served nearly 400 kids and teenagers ages 7-17 so far this year. We live for the moments when campers tell us it’s the best day they’ve had since they were diagnosed, and the smiles on their faces when they make their first turn, or turn their skis parallel for the first time.
This year, a mother with a recently diagnosed daughter tearfully told us how grateful she was that her daughter could be with people just like her for the day. In Oregon, one camper asked if we were coming back next year before it was even time for lunch! In Pennsylvania, a camper said, “I wish my sister didn’t have Type 1, but we wouldn’t have gotten to do something like this if she wasn’t.”
Altitude, weather and physical activity can dramatically influence blood sugar levels, so winter sports can be especially challenging with T1D. That’s why ROI has capable volunteers and an Elite Coaches team full of inspiring adults living actively with T1D to teach campers the sport.
There is currently no way to prevent or cure T1D, however ROI is very active in the search for a cure. In 2016, ROI partnered with the University of Virginia (UVA) to test an Artificial Pancreas (AP) system to automatically monitor and control blood sugar levels in those with T1D.
To learn more or sign up for a camp head to ridingoninsulin.org