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."
Inspirational Leaders 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.
2015 Camp Tour Schedule:
Ryan Reed June 18 – Camp Discovery - Chicago, Ill.
Kris Freeman June 9 – Kiki's Kids Camp - Rome, Ga. June 10 – Camp Seale Harris - Jackson's Gap, Ala. June 16 – ADA Camp JADA - Jacksonville, Fla. June 17 – Camp Bluebonnet - Austin, Texas July 9-10 – Children with Diabetes® Friends for Life® Annual Conference - Orlando, Fla. July 12 – Tennessee Camp for Diabetic Children - Hixson, Tenn. July 13 – Camp Planet D - Overland Park, Kan. July 16 – Diabetes Youth Services Little Shots Camp - Toledo, Ohio July 17 – The Jack Rua Camp for Children with Diabetes - Rehoboth, Mass.
About Lilly Diabetes Lilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when we introduced the world's first commercial insulin. Today we are building upon this heritage by working to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes and those who care for them. Through research and collaboration, a broad and growing product portfolio and a continued determination to provide real solutions—from medicines to support programs and more—we strive to make life better for all those affected by diabetes around the world. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com and follow @LillyDiabetes on Twitter.
About Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and newsroom.lilly.com/social-channels. CR-LLY