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George Canyon Honored with a Diabetes Advocacy Award from Diabetes Canada

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(Cal­gary, AB)  April 25, 2017 — Cana­di­an coun­try singer George Canyon is being rec­og­nized as an inspi­ra­tion to oth­ers like him who bat­tle the stig­ma of Type 1 dia­betes every day, receiv­ing a vol­un­teer award Tues­day for break­ing down bar­ri­ers.

Canyon, along­side Ontario’s Stephen Steele, was hon­oured by Dia­betes Cana­da as part of Nation­al Vol­un­teer Week after more than five years of tire­less work to sup­port those with Type 1 dia­betes in the avi­a­tion sec­tor.

Canyon was forced to give up his dream of becom­ing an Air Force pilot when he was diag­nosed with Type 1 dia­betes as a young teen, but still went on to achieve his recre­ation­al pilot licence.

Still, Trans­port Cana­da rules pre­vent­ed him from receiv­ing a pri­vate pilot licence, which would allow him to fly at night, car­ry mul­ti­ple pas­sen­gers and fly out­side of Cana­da.

Canyon and Steele, a com­mer­cial pilot with Type 1 dia­betes, worked togeth­er to prove that pilots with Type 1 dia­betes are fit to fly as long as they are man­ag­ing glycemic lev­els and test­ing blood sug­ars reg­u­lar­ly.

Last sum­mer, they were among five peo­ple with Type 1 dia­betes cer­ti­fied for a pri­vate pilot’s licence — a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward for all peo­ple liv­ing with Type 1 wish­ing to become pilots.

This work took a huge amount of pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion,” said Scott McRae, region­al direc­tor with Dia­betes Cana­da.

Dia­betes can be such a stig­ma­tized dis­ease. Just because you are faced with a chron­ic con­di­tion, that you have through no fault of your own, doesn’t mean you should be com­plete­ly elim­i­nat­ed from cer­tain sec­tors of the world.

It can be crush­ing.”

But the work of Canyon and Steele, McRae explained, is expect­ed to pave the way for more peo­ple with Type 1 dia­betes receiv­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for a pri­vate pilot’s licence.

Tech­nol­o­gy, man­age­ment ther­a­pies con­tin­ue to evolve. And we’re expect­ing to see a huge momen­tum because of this work.”

From the Cal­gary Her­ald

eferguson@postmedia.com

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