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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