March 23, 2014 3:16 pm
Updated: March 25, 2014 7:36 am

Run to raise diabetes awareness reaches Halifax

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HALIFAX – When Sebastien Sasseville was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 12 years ago, he decided it wasn’t going to stop him. The Quebec City man is now on a cross-country trek to raise awareness about diabetes. He began his run last month in St. John’s, Newfoundland and made a stop in Halifax on Sunday.

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Sasseville, 34, is on a mission called Outrun Diabetes, which will see him run 7,500 kilometers from St. John’s to Vancouver. “[I] had a lot of dreams,” said Sasseville. “Things I wanted to do in life and then diabetes, so it’s really a choice that you make that you’re going to do something good about it.”

Sasseville has used diabetes to drive himself. He became the first Canadian with type 1 diabetes to climb Mount Everest. He is also part of a global all-diabetes team of cyclists, triathletes and runners. He hopes to raise funds and awareness of diabetes and encourage others.

“I want to inspire people to live their lives to the fullest no matter what obstacles they face,” he said.

More than three million Canadians have some form of diabetes. The Crawford family wheeled their sons during the run. Their son Jack, 6, has type 1 diabetes and they are inspired by Sasseville’s message.

“He is to me, my Terry Fox,” Sonya Crawford said about Sasseville. “He started out small in Newfoundland and my hope is by the time he gets to Vancouver, that many more Canadians understand what it’s like living with type 1 diabetes.”

Jack needs four  insulin needles per day. Meanwhile, Sasseville uses a pump to administer insulin as needed. Jack will have to receive injections for at least a year, before they try the pump with him.

“You can put your numbers in – the amount of carbs  you are eating, when you are going to eat them,” said Jack’s mother. “So there’s a lot more flexibility to what and when you can eat throughout the day.”

Besides the Crawfords, Sasseville has also inspired a running group, which joined him for the five-kilometer jaunt in Halifax.

“Obstacles can be overcome,” said runner Alf Lacey. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you start. You have to have some kind of a goal in mind which Sebastien has, of course.”

Sasseville resumes his run in Antigonish, N.S. on Tuesday. He will stop in major cities across Canada, including Moncton next Sunday, for short runs to inspire others. Sasseville hopes to end his run in Vancouver on November 14, which is World Diabetes Day.

You can follow Sasseville’s journey on Facebook. Videos and pictures are posted and Sasseville lets people know where he is each day.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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