Diabetes Won’t Stop 16-Day Trek Through Arctic

Neal Brenner, 41 of Roanoke, Virginia is embarking on the journey ofa lifetime which began on March 8 and lasts until March 24. Withnothing but a laptop, a satellite phone, and his insulin pump tomanage his diabetes, Neal will drive over 4,800 miles through theArctic Circle with a friend as they take part in a 16-day adventurefrom Edmonton and ending in Tuktoyaktuk (the uppermost edge ofCanada’s Northwest Territories).

While this trek may be physically grueling, Neal will tell you thatthe toughest part will be trying to manage his diabetes. Neal isfaced with the added difficulties of maintaining his blood sugarlevels and making sure he has enough insulin to regulate itthroughout his trip. Neal was diagnosed at the age of 27 with asevere form of type 2 diabetes, similar to a person with the moresevere form of the disease called type 1 (or juvenile) diabetes that makes him insulin-dependant.

Under these conditions, Neal and his team of “adventure seekers”will visit the Arctic and take part in activities such as dogsledding, hiking, snowmobiling, camping. Though not every portionof the trip requires participants to “rough it,” the group will beexpected to fix their vehicles if anything goes wrong, face extremeweather conditions, camp in the wilderness and drive through roughterrain.

As Neal drives through the Arctic Circle, he is actively keeping anonline journal (http://drivetheglobe.com/adventures/arctic/live/)which includes daily log entries, photos and videos. Being involvedin such an adventurous trip shows that diabetes is not somethingthat will hold Neal down. His involvement with his local chapter ofthe Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, through participation inWalk to Cure events, galas and private fundraising events hosted athis home, he has demonstrated his commitment to not letting diabeteskeep him down and becoming a role model to others who are strugglingwith this disease.

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