Climbing the tower at Camp Carson takes a lot of patience, diligence and stamina. Traits that this young man definitely possesses. As an Olympic athlete and U.S Cross Country Skier; Kris Freeman has proven that; while diagnosed with type one diabetes. A chronic disease that many said would derail his future.
Freeman says, "when I was first diagnosed one of the things I thought was 'oh my god' can I keep ski racing!".
He was diagnosed at age 19. He is now 33 years old and actively competing.
"I've just competed at my fourth olympics in Sochi, Russia so I proved the nay sayers wrong", he added.
He says he's learned how to manage the illness; while competing in a high endurance sport. When he's not on the slopes; he's educating youth with the same disease.
"I definitely want to go out spread that message to the kids so that they don't have to give up on their goals or what's important to them, just because their diagnosed. I'm trying to inspire them to keep reaching", Freeman added.
Diabetes camps like the one taking place at Camp Carson offer a support group for youth with the disease. Rebecca Winsett is the Independence Diabetes Camp Director.
"We try to instill dreams", she says. "You have to make your dream but, as you well know with dreams you have to plan. Dreams don't just open the door and say, 'I'm here!'. I think his message is; don't let go of your dreams but you do have to plan", Winsett says.
Just as Freeman plans his training for the olympics he also has a plan for managing his diabetes by eating on time and by checking his blood sugar levels. He reminds the youth to manage the disease as oppose to it managing them.
"This disease is always with you. The more you learn about it; the more easier it becomes", he added.
Once his summer camp tours are over Kris freeman plans to start training for the next Winter Olympics in South Korea.
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