INDIANAPOLIS, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most inspiring personalities of the 2010 Vancouver Games, Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman sheds his skis and poles this week to kick off his 6th annual diabetes summer camp tour with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly Diabetes). Freeman, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 10 years ago at age 19, will share his amazing comeback story from coast to coast and encourage children with diabetes to continue pursuing their dreams.
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After fighting back from a rare muscle disorder to compete in the 2010 Olympics in February, Freeman suffered several setbacks during his races, including a plunge in his blood sugar level that caused him to collapse while racing in the lead pack of the 30km pursuit.
"That was a disappointment,'' Freeman said, "but I think it's important to show children that even though diabetes can sometimes throw you off your game, the key is to keep on going.''
To help Freeman share that message, he and Lilly Diabetes expanded the annual camp tour this year and have created a new series of Webisodes, also released today, that chronicle Freeman's Olympic experience and personal story of perseverance, acceptance, and determination to stay competitive.
Freeman has worked closely with Lilly Diabetes for eight years, visiting more than 3,000 youngsters at diabetes summer camps, where kids take part in typical camping experiences in a setting that provides the medical and social support they need. This year's tour takes Freeman to 14 camps throughout the US, where he'll speak with campers, parents, and staff and participate in daily activities. A key question from kids at every stop is always how he has been able to compete at the highest level while managing his diabetes day-to-day. Freeman's reply is always the same:
"It's so important to know as much as you can about the disease, but in addition, consistent blood sugar management and having the support of family, friends, and a healthcare team are critical to success."
"I want to show these kids that achieving their dreams can be possible with diabetes. You don't have to shut yourself off from life. I hope my story shows that," said Freeman.
Lilly Diabetes has a long history of supporting diabetes camps and has donated $175,000 to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) camp scholarship program in the last two years alone, through the Inspired by Diabetes art campaign and the Touchdowns for Diabetes camp scholarship program. Lilly is also a long-time provider of insulin, diabetes supplies, and educational materials for diabetes camps, including more than $2 million in product donations to camps in the United States in 2009.
"We're honored to work with Kris Freeman and provide his visits to diabetes camps all over the country," said Keith Johns, Senior Director, Insulins, Lilly Diabetes. "Children with diabetes very often don't have others around them they can relate to with the disease. Kris' story and positive attitude can have a real impact on how these kids feel about themselves and their futures despite having diabetes. His dedication over the years to his sport, his own diabetes management, and other youngsters with diabetes is something we can all learn from."
Freeman's 2010 summer diabetes camp dates begin June 9th and run through August 18th. For more information about his work with Lilly, please visit www.LillyDiabetes.com.
June 9 - Camp EDI, Fredericktown, Mo.
June 10 - Camp Hot Shots, Louisville, Neb.
June 11 - Camp Sweet Pea, Loveland, Colo.
June 14 - Camp Koral Kids, Coral Springs, Fla.
June 16 - Camp Sandcastle, Corpus Christi, Texas
July 7 - Camp Colorado, Denver, Colo.
July 8 - Camp Hertko Hollow, Boone, Iowa
July 9 - Camp Diabetes Solutions, Oklahoma City, Okla.
July 10 - Bearskin Meadow Camp, Concord, Calif.
July 12 - Camp Aldersgate, Little Rock, Ark.
July 13 - Camp Wanna Cure, San Diego, Calif.
July 14 - Diabetes Camp at Camp Crestfield, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Aug 13 - Camp Carefree, New Durham, N.H.
Aug 18 - Camp Nejada, Stillwater, N.J.
About Lilly Diabetes
For more than 85 years, Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has been a worldwide leader in pioneering industry-leading solutions to support people living with and treating diabetes. Lilly introduced the world's first commercial insulin in 1923, and remains at the forefront of medical and delivery device innovation to manage diabetes. Lilly is also committed to providing solutions beyond therapy -- practical tools, education, and support programs to help overcome barriers to success along the diabetes journey. At Lilly, the journey of each person living with or treating diabetes inspires ours. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company, a leading innovation-driven company, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
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