On April 16, 18-year-old Casey McNamara will be among the youngest running the Boston Marathon. The Brookline resident is running to raise money for the Joslin Diabetes Center and to show others and herself that though she has type 1 diabetes (T1D), she can do anything.
Grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Joslin Center, McNamara is running for all those who have “researched, worked, or even just donated money in hopes of making the lives of T1D better.” She credits their work with being the reason why she can not only live with diabetes but can take on such challenges as the Boston Marathon.
Aiming to raise $15,000, McNamara has raised over $5,000 so far.
Ahead of the marathon, McNamara took some time to answer a few questions, asked by the media.
Why are you running for the Joslin Center?
More than anything I want a cure for T1D. I want to run for Joslin so that I can give back and help raise money for an organization near and dear to my heart and to help progress the research for T1D. I hope that the money I raise for Joslin will help make type one diabetes just a little easier. I hope that there is progress in the research of T1D and more smiles in the process of finding a cure. I hope that with the money that is raised people who have T1D are feeling better, doing better, and living better.
How are you training?
I am still trying to perfect my system for keeping my blood glucose levels in check while I run. I keep Clif gummy blocks with me in case I go low during a run. I try to fuel up before a run, especially if it is a long one and I make sure to replenish my food after I finish exercising. I have been doing a pretty good job, but just like with most areas of diabetes, it could always improve. I also have my own personal coach who is amazing. He checks in on me regarding nutrition, strength, endurance, and everything else that goes along with marathon training. He keeps me on schedule and helps me balance marathon training with my school work, social life, and varsity sports.
What keeps you motivated as you prepare?
I have so many motivations. One of my biggest motivations is my cousin Cameron who is 6 years old and was diagnosed with T1D when he was 16 months old. He is such a wonderful little boy who doesn’t let T1D stop him from doing anything. I am motivated by him because I realize that the work I do now can help his teenage years, which can be the hardest years to manage T1D. I don’t want Cameron to have to go through what I as well as so many other type one diabetics go through. By raising the money and spreading awareness we will generate progress and be that much closer to a cure.
What challenges have/do you face?
I think that it is hard sometimes with all the hard/bad things that can happen in life to look at T1D as something positive. But the longer I live I realize that it is because of T1D that I have found the most strength. When we physically are training to get stronger we weight train and resistance train and our muscle fibers get torn down and it allows them to repair themselves and come back stronger. I think that this same idea applies to how I look at my diabetes. Because I have diabetes and deal with diabetes I have grown and gotten stronger and it is through this strength that motivates me to keep going. I think that it is my diabetes which motivates me to want to run, to show I can and I will.
What message do you hope to send to others with T1D?
I hope that I can inspire some girl or boy who has diabetes and might be doubting what they can accomplish because of their diabetes and serve as a reminder that it only makes what you do more amazing and incredible. Even though it may make situations more challenging it makes accomplishing goals so much more rewarding.
For more information or to donate, please visit McNamara’s fundraising page here.