VIDEO & PHOTOS: 11 young people living with type 1 diabetes “conquered” Lefka Ori

On August 27, 2015 an international team of 11 young people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) from Brazil, Canada, India and 8 European countries successfully completed the T1D YOUTH Challenge. Previous year’s T1D Challenge teams have taken on Mount Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu but this year’s team was solely composed of people living with type 1 diabetes aged 15–20 years to advocate the importance of self-empowerment and emotional support in the management of diabetes during adolescence and early adulthood.

The T1D Youth Challenge aims to raise awareness and give hope to other young people with T1D and demonstrates that it is possible to go beyond diabetes and make the most of each opportunity.

To support the T1D YOUTH Challenge, Sanofi Diabetes, SWEET e.V. ‘Better control in Pediatric and Adolescent diabeteS; Working to crEate CEnTers of Reference’ and World Diabetes Tour joined forces for the first time.

Supported by an experienced medical team from SWEET centers, and two mentors who both participated in the previous T1D Challenges, the 11 young trekkers began on August 24, 2015, with a 4 day arduous hike which took them through the Samaria Gorge on grueling terrain under hot temperatures, before ascending Gingilos Mount to reach the summit 2,080m above sea level. The trek conditions were challenging for the young people, but all of them completed the trek while successfully managing their blood sugar levels, demonstrating to people living with diabetes that their condition doesn’t have to stand in the way of achieving their goals and aspirations.

Watch their inspiring story and help the young team spread the positive message that when striving for control, anything is possible.

“The trek was extremely challenging for the young team this year. Most of the team had never participated in a trek such as this before, let alone managing their blood-glucose levels during periods of high physical endurance and high temperatures. All the team demonstrated a positive attitude towards managing their diabetes, great teamwork and all completed their personal goals on the challenge. It was a pleasure to work with everyone – and demonstrate to the world that if you strive for control of diabetes you can dare to dream!” said Prof. Olga Kordonouri, Pediatric Diabetes Physician at SWEET and who accompanied the team on the trek.

SWEET is an international network of Centers of References for pediatric and adolescent diabetes. Initiated with support of the EU Public Health Program in 2006, the SWEET group has over 6 years of experience in creating and sustaining a high quality professional network based on agreed standards of care, criteria for certification, international guidelines and quality control, including peer review and data collection, sharing and benchmarking. The World Diabetes Tour is a patient association who promotes a positive attitude about T1D and seeks to help people with T1D and raise awareness of the condition.

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