NEW GLASGOW – Although it is painful, Canadian endurance athlete Sebastien Sasseville is still carrying a positive outlook on with his 7,500 kilometre journey across Canada.
New Glasgow town councillor Henderson Paris, left, presents Sebastien Sasseville with a certificate of congratulations for his cross-Canada run to raise funds and awareness about diabetes. Kayla Fraser – The News
Sasseville has type 1 diabetes and is running 7,500 kilometres between Newfoundland and British Columbia to promote awareness of the disease. He intends to finish in Vancouver on Nov. 14 for World Diabetes Day.
He’s been through Halifax and is currently making his way through Nova Scotia and on to Prince Edward Island on Thursday.
His main goal is to inspire people to live to their fullest, no matter what challenges they face, he said.
“Three million people in Canada live with a form of diabetes, so Outrun Diabetes is about overcoming obstacles and living life to the fullest. That’s the message.”
Kelli Skinner knows about the challenges her two sons have to face. Ten-year-old Matthew and five-year-old Justin both have type 1 diabetes.
She said it means the world to have Sasseville run for diabetes and she hopes it will let more people know about the disease.
“Especially to let them know that they can do anything that they want to do in life, and they don’t have to let diabetes stop them.”
She never realized how much her life would change when her two sons were diagnosed, she said.
People with diabetes don’t have to feel held back from doing what they want to do, she said.
Sasseville said he hopes people feel inspired and empowered by his run.
“There is a lot of a great technology and medical devices and drugs out there, but without starting with accepting the disease and making that conscious decision saying, ‘I’m going to live well with this disease,’ not much can happen, so that’s the role I want to play.”
He is no scientist or doctor, but if he can help people accept and embrace the disease, he is sure good things will happen, he said.
Town councillor Henderson Paris said he appreciates Sasseville’s stop in New Glasgow.
“Anytime someone like Sebastien takes the time to, first and foremost, take on a cause of this nature, and confront a disease like diabetes or whatever it is, and for them to want to come and to stop at our municipal offices and just be greeted for their endeavour, you know it means a lot to us.”
He said the run is a key message to people with diabetes.
“It’s nice to know that there are people out there working on behalf of Canadians to instil in them a healthy lifestyle that is so important and so crucial.”
In his life, diabetes has affected his family in a big way, he said.
“It is something I don’t take lightly. It just reinforces my own personal belief. Health is so important; we just take it for granted.”
So far, Sasseville has run about 1,300 kilometres and still considers being in the early stages of the run, he said.
Although he’s had no major injuries, he said it does hurt.
“Everything hurts and I’m running very slow, so we’re cultivating a very positive attitude and vibe around the run. But don’t get me wrong, the days are pretty tough.”
He said there are good days and bad days, but he keeps going.
“Just focus on running today and accomplishing that, and it’s going well.”
He said the project is not only about running, but also about what it means to people and to the ones living with type 1 or 2 diabetes.
“There is going to be challenges in life, for the rest of our lives, and I think the outcome of those battles, I may say, is always depending on our attitude and what we decide to do when we face those obstacles.”
He said he thinks diabetes has always been a gift because he has learned so much from it.
“I would never give it back. But it’s not always easy and it’s often pretty hard. So to live with it, is a challenge, but I think rightness comes in time of diversity, so to welcome the challenge and choose to rise to the occasion, I think it’s the only option.”