On March 7th 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes which is an auto-immune disease. This affects me in many ways and I have to monitor my blood sugar levels 24/7 as well as give myself multiple daily injections to keep me alive. Managing Diabetes alone is hard but it is even harder to train and race with the condition. When I was in hospital I really did think I had waved goodbye to any chance of even being able to ride my bike let alone race it. But I remembered hearing about Team Novo Nordisk (TNN), who are a Type 1 Diabetic cycling team who compete at pro continental level. I researched them and realised I am not the only cyclist with the condition and that with proper care and attention I could race my bike and do well. This inspired me and really helped me come to terms with my diagnosis. When I got back home from hospital, I made contact with the team and they put me in touch with another Irish rider with the condition, Stephen Clancy. Stephen has messaged me a number of times, giving me encouragement. The team were fantastic and they answered any questions I had, they also sent me some kit for free. Within a short space of time I realised that my chances of doing anything in the sport were not gone, in fact they were increased and by having Type 1 Diabetes I had an advantage. I could’ve used my diagnosis as a negative and given up, but having heard so much about the team, I decided to try and turn my diagnosis into a positive.
Team Novo Nordisk run a Talent Identification camp in Athens Georgia every year and since I discovered them I have always wanted to go to it but was too young, as the minimum age to be at the camp is 15. I just missed out by a couple of weeks last year. Since October 2017, I have been sending my race results and training into their coaches and I recently received an email telling me I have been given a place on this year’s camp. I am over the moon and can’t wait. The camp is held in Athens, Georgia and will run for 9 days from 2nd July to the 11th. The camp is for some of the best young riders who have the condition. I will be riding with members of the Team Novo Nordisk Development Teams and Junior Teams. Off the bike I will be able to work with licensed health care professionals to learn about sports and diabetes management. With any luck in the next 2 years I might make it onto the Team Novo Nordisk junior team.
By Ciaran Dixon
The Cycling Ulster Executive would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ciaran on his positive outlook on life and wish him a fantastic time in the Novo Nordisk camp in July.