Community News
July 11, 2017 By Denise Barnard
Diabetes doesn’t slow down this race car driver

If you’ve never heard of Charlie Kimball, then it’s time you did: he’s the first licenced driver with type 1 diabetes to compete in and win the IndyCar series. The driver of the No. 83 Novo NordiskDiabetes Canada Honda car will be racing in the Honda Indy Toronto, which runs from July 14 to 16.

In 2007, at the age of 22, Charlie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during a regular doctor’s appointment – a definite game changer for anyone, but especially a race car driver. But determination won out and by the following year, he got back behind the wheel with the help of his doctor and team who created a diabetes treatment plan and modify his car so he can manage the disease while driving.

The result? Cool innovative technology that makes racing with diabetes a go: Charlie’s continuous glucose monitor takes readings of his blood sugar levels and sends them to the digital display on his steering wheel. (The same information is sent in real time to the engineers in the pit stop.) Through his helmet, he can access drink mixtures to help him control his blood sugar levels in real time – switching between water and orange juice – even when he’s driving at speeds of more than 100 m.p.h. And what’s equally cool is the support he receives from his family: Charlie’s helmet system was designed by his father, Gordon, who used to design Formula One and Indy cars.

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