Olympian Kris Freeman And NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed To Share Their Courageous Stories With Children Who Have Type 1 Diabetes

June 8, 2015

Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman and NASCAR driver Ryan Reed will travel across the U.S. this summer to share their stories as part of the Lilly Camp Care Package program.

PRESS RELEASE

INDIANAPOLIS, June 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ryan Reed will travel across the U.S. this summer to share their stories of perseverance and triumph as part of the Lilly Camp Care Package (LCCP) program. Kris and Ryan will speak to children at select diabetes summer camps about how type 1 diabetes did not stop them from chasing their dreams. This week, along with Lilly Diabetes, they launch the 11th annual diabetes camp tour.

Most children see few obstacles when looking into the future, but this may be different for children with diabetes. Kris and Ryan aim to inspire campers by sharing their personal experiences and encouraging them to dream big.

Diabetes camps offer unique experiences to children in a traditional camp setting. For many children with diabetes, this can be the first step toward gaining confidence for the future and understanding that they are not alone. Campers learn critical diabetes self-management skills, and many find camaraderie in the shared experiences of fellow campers.

"Diabetes Camp gives children and teens with diabetes the opportunity to enter that special world where they are just like everyone else," said Erin Crosby, associate director, camp programs for the American Diabetes Association. "It's a safe yet adventurous place where they not only learn about diabetes self-management, but also increase their confidence and push their limits, while making new friends and some amazing summer memories."

Skier Kris Freeman was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 and thought then he would never compete at the Olympic level. In February 2014, he competed in his fourth Winter Olympics. This year marks his 11th camp tour and 13 years as a Lilly Diabetes ambassador. Since 2004, Kris has visited approximately 12,000 campers across the U.S.

Like Kris, Ryan Reed, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17, was told he would never compete again. However, once he learned about strategies for proper diabetes management, he was back on track to pursue his dream of a racing career. In 2014, Ryan became a full-time driver for Roush Fenway Racing and an advocate for diabetes awareness. This past February, he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway, his first win in the series. Ryan is also the ambassador for Drive to Stop DiabetesSM, an educational initiative with the American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes.

"Having real people who are succeeding in their diabetes journey to relate to is so important for children learning to manage and live with diabetes," said pediatric endocrinologist Andrew Cagle, MD, medical advisor, Lilly Diabetes, and longtime diabetes camp volunteer. "You can't help but be inspired when you hear Kris and Ryan tell their stories, and we couldn't be happier to bring these outstanding people to camps year after year. We hope their stories help show children with diabetes that big dreams and accomplishments are not out of reach."

Lilly Diabetes has supported camps for children with diabetes for 15 years and believes that attending a diabetes summer camp can be a valuable experience for children learning to live with diabetes. Since 2001, Lilly Diabetes has donated nearly $26 million in insulin, supplies, scholarships, and camper and caregiver materials.

Kris and Ryan's 2015 summer diabetes camp tour begins June 9. To hear or read their stories, or for more information on other Lilly Diabetes support programs, please visit www.lillydiabetes.com. To find a camp in your area, visit www.diabetescamps.org.