Embracing Life with T1D on the Sea
CDBC Alumni, Evan Vannier, has been living with Type 1 Diabetes since he was 8 years old. He is currently working in S
outh Africa within the marine conservation and eco tourism community, specifically working with Great White Sharks. Evan is living his dream and doesn't let T1D stop him from thriving in an intense, high pressure environment while working with an apex predator! Read on to hear Evan's tips on T1D management and learn more about his thrilling work!
Evan Vannier was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 14 years ago, around the same age he first watched Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" and was inspired to learn more and eventually work directly with these magnificent creatures. "I was so curious and intrigued about this animal that was such as a powerful killer but yet had so much beauty and elegance to it, I had to learn more and that's where my passion first started..." remembers Evan. Since then, Evan has traveled all over the world from his home country of Canada, to Australia, to Florida, and eventually to South Africa, where he currently works and resides. Evan works within the marine conservation and eco tourism community, where he takes people on an "experience of a lifetime": shark cage diving with Great White Sharks. A key part of Evan's job is educating his participants on the animals they are viewing, and their importance to the eco system and our planet. His team also does scientific studies of the animals including data research and recognition, and shark behavior and tagging.
"It has always been a goal
of mine to be doing what I am now!" says Evan. And it was no easy feat! Evan's dream job required him to move halfway
the world, and puts him in a quick paced, high pressure environment each day. Evan notes how important it is to ensure that his blood sugars are in a safe range so that he is alert and aware while working with the sharks. "
To make sure I'm at my best, I always test my blood sugars before, in-between, and after all boat trips. It's crucial to do this to make sure my blood sugars are good not only for my safety, but everyone on the boat's safety too, as we are working with an apex predator and must take these animals seriously". Evan also uses the Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor and credits it as a quick way to check his blood sugar during all of the excitement.
Evan considers sharks the way some may view diabetes. What can seem like an overwhelming, scary situation, Evan views and approaches with grace and elegance. "I want people to know how amazing sharks really are and not to fear them but embrace them. Without sharks, our oceans would fall out of balance, not just affecting marine life but human life as well... I encourage people to educate themselves on the facts and not the over-exaggerated headlines the news bring to our screens. Sharks have been here long before us and once we finally learn to co-exist with these incredible animals it is a big step forward to finding natural balance on our planet"
When asked what his advice would be for others living with T1D, Evan expressed what is clear by the way he manages his T1D in order to live his dream each day: "Never have I let my diabetes get in the way of anything I wanted to do, whether it being traveling the world, playing sports or just living my day to day life. We live in a time where we can manage our diabetes and pursue any of our passions and goals. One of the reasons I love doing the work I do is to show other people and diabetics that this is all possible no matter what limitations try to hold us back. We control our diabetes it does not control us."
Whether it be working with sharks, playing a professional sport, or traveling the world, you can do anything with T1D!
Looking for a fun gift for the T1D in your life? Look no further! These products and experiences are fun, educational, and perfect for those young and old alike.
Jerry The Bear
- Jerry the Bear has T1D, just like your favorite little one! Jerry connects to a phone app by which children can learn to take care of his T1D, and in turn learn about their own. Plus, he's adorable! $55
- Keep your insulin vials safe from drops, pets, and the dreaded bottom of your diabetes bag! VialSafe protector comes in a variety of fun colors. $14.99-$19.99
Riding On Insulin Camps
- Give the gift of an amazing experience for your active young T1D! Riding on Insulin offers a variety of diabetes camps including ski/snowboard, surf, and BMX - all over the country! $Prices Vary
Limited Edition "Lucky Few" Ornament
- All proceeds from these CDBC ornaments go towards the CDBC Campership Fund to allow youth to attend camp, who would otherwise be financially unable. The gift that keeps on giving! $20
Myabetic Fanny Pack
- Fanny packs are back! For those with T1D, they're also extremely practical. Check out Myabetics "Henry Hero" Fanny Pack for a fun design and designated T1D pockets! $50
Diabetes Warrior Necklace
- Beautifully made in gold, rose gold, and silver, the Diabetes Warrior Necklace features an awareness ribbon with the option to add a disk with an initial. This dainty gift is perfect for your T1D, or for the mother of a T1D! $34+
- We've found you the most useful stocking stuffer! Gu packets make for great low treatment, that won't or get squished in your pocket, and provide a quick boost during activity - a Chris Dudley Favorite! With a variety of flavors and order sizes, you can't go wrong. $Prices Vary
Road ID Apple Watch ID
- If you're already wearing an Apple Watch to track your Dexcom CGM, Road ID makes for a simple medical alert, that won't require you to wear an extra piece of jewelry! Simply slide the engraved ID onto your Apple Watch Band, and you're covered! $29.99
Calling all T1D Basketball Players!
Basketball Season is upon us!
We love seeing pictures of you on the court, living active, and thriving with T1D! Tag
on Facebook & Instagram, or
on Twitter, and we may just feature you on our pages!
Savannah H., T1D, playing varsity as a Freshman and 2nd highest scorer in her first game.
Noah W., T1D, plays basketball at the next level at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.
Chris Dudley Basketball Camp:
July 26-31, 2020 - Vernonia, OR
To register a new camper:
Call or email the Chris Dudley Foundation at
midnight on New Year's Eve, in your time zone. CDF will reach out during the 3rd week of January to let you know if your camper was accepted or placed on a wait list. All camp spots are first come, first serve, based on when you contact CDF starting on NYE. We do not accept campers based on skill, etc.
Leave the following information in your voicemail/email:
-Your full name
-Your contact information
-Your camper's full name
-Your camper's birthdate
-The state or country you live in
Please feel free to contact us prior to NYE with any questions about Camp or the registration process!
CDBC Camper 5 Years
CDBC Staff 1 Year
Favorite Camp Memory
My favorite camp memory isn't really a single memory, but the combination of love and fun felt during the Talent Show and Campfire. Looking back on it, I wish I had participated more in both!
What did you learn at camp about your diabetes?
I learned a lot about cutting back on some of my insulin during hard training days (I played basketball for my community college so we could have 4am workouts along with 2-3 hour practices some days). It really helped knowing how my body typically reacts to strenuous exercise, especially when sleeping that night!
Do you keep in touch with anyone from Camp?
I kept in contact with Kelsey T., and with a guy from the Bay Area named Max J. For a couple years after my final year as a camper we texted every once in a while. My main kick now has been keeping up with former campers like Ben Rue and Tyler Bryne who make music and produce TV shows!
What is your advice for new or present campers?
My best advice to every camper is to enjoy it! Have fun and participate. Don't worry about being shy or embarrassing yourself at camp! No one has more fun at camp than those campers who go all out!
Since my days as a camper, I graduated College from UC Davis with a B.S. in Biotechnology. I used that degree to start a job in September at a Biotech company called Sutro Biopharma, where I help produce cells that are used in new medicine for cancer treatments. Surprisingly, I am not married, which is only surprising because I've had the same girlfriend since I was 16... and yes that was over 11 years ago. We're looking for a place to live together in the Bay Area (which is harder than it sounds with how expensive everything here gets!) before we think about taking that next step!
"Where Are They Now" is a monthly feature article showcasing past Chris Dudley Basketball Camp campers, now young adults with type 1 diabetes living active lives and following their dreams!
We want to hear from YOU! How are you thriving with diabetes?! Where has life taken you?
For more information and to sign up, email Gayle Yost at firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.chrisdudley.org - 503.830.0780