The Power of Cheer

“’You’re coming up to the bridge back to Ontario…I can see the hill…5km left to go. You are so close….keep pushing…ugh I just want to sit!’

Those were Hank Devos’ thoughts while running the half marathon for the first time last year.

“I was extremely tired by this point and trying to manage my blood glucose level,” he says. “But seeing people on the sidelines pulling for you gives you that needed push forward to get you through the next kilometre,”

Hank is a 2015 Team Connected In Motion Ottawa Runner in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge as a part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. He also has Type 1 diabetes and will be running his first marathon this year.

Most people don’t have an accurate picture of what it’s like to live with Type 1, they think you just take a shot of insulin and you’re good to go – but it’s much more complex than that. Everyday is a tug of war between food, stress hormones, exercise, blood glucose levels, and insulin dosing, just to keep you in an optimal range.

Not one hour is the same as the last.

Exercise is one of the most complicated elements to navigate. A person with Type 1 trying to copy what their body’s physiological system does at every moment of every day.

It’s a continuous balancing act. As Hank and most runners know, your best laid running plan is often turned upside down on race day due to one issue or another. Sometimes it’s a breeze and other times it’s a struggle.

The cheerers and cheer stations along the Race Weekend route provide an infusion of energy, pride, and a little bit of fun that helps to propel runners forward. For the past four years, Connected In Motion has set up a station at the corner of Queen Elizabeth and McLeod. This year will be no different – we are committed to cheering on our dedicated team and all runners in this year’s event.

We know the value in supporting each other in our everyday lives with diabetes so we have applied this same philosophy to our cheer station. We take great pride in our station by making it a fun place to spend time during the weekend. We play great music, have a sign making station, have supplies and snacks for our team, and of course, we stay and cheer until the very last runner passes us by!

This year as part of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Connected In Motion’s goal is to raise $15, 000. Our TeamCIM members are working hard to help us reach that goal. We’ve got an entire weekend of events planned to support our team, starting with our Mix N’ Mingle on Friday evening at Millstreet Brew Pub and our TeamCIM Picnic Dinner following the 5km and 10km races at our cheer station. Come stop by our cheer station and see what we’re all about! To donate please visit our Scotiabank Charity Challenge page and Sponsor Us!

If you’re interested in knowing more about Connected In Motion and our Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend event, please visit our website –

Connected In Motion, a registered Canadian charity founded in 2008, whose mission is to foster a community of adults living with Type 1 diabetes through peer- based experiential diabetes education, physical activity and outdoor adventure pursuits so that they may inspire one another to live life without limits. Their vision is to create a community of healthy, active, and educated adults living with Type 1 diabetes who are supported and engaged in diabetes self-management.

Author: Julie DeVosProgram Director for Connected In Motion – T1D for 25 years