There are moments that mark milestones in one’s journey through life. For Yves Provost of Victoria, BC, his journey was undeniably marked by two significant moments in his 53 years.
The first was his diagnosis of diabetes despite being in great shape and eating well. As Yves, a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces, remembers, “I started crying. I asked myself what do I do now? What do I eat? I also worried about how to keep up my physical training, such as jogging and cycling. I was devastated.”
With the support of his doctors, family and friends, Yves did not let diabetes hold him back.
He continued to maintain his physical activity and reached out for help from the Canadian Diabetes Association and other people who have diabetes.
Yves also started to read inspirational stories of people dedicating their time and passion to good causes, and, being an athlete himself, he was particularly impressed by those who ran or cycled long distances to raise awareness about their cause.
This led to his second significant moment in the spring of 2009. Yves decided to cycle across Canada to raise awareness and funds for diabetes. He linked this endeavour with the Association’s first “Diabetes Summer Surge” campaign. This campaign asked Canadians to add a fundraising component to their summer activities. After 52 days of cycling from Victoria, BC, to Halifax, NS, Yves became one of the campaign’s top fundraisers and perhaps the most self-sacrificing. With only his 76-year old father in his support crew and battling inclines as high as 20% and scorching temperatures as hot as 45 C for six to seven hours daily, Yves admits “cycling was very challenging. The reward only came later when I had a chance to share my story to give others hope, and to inspire them to take responsibility for their health and support the fight against diabetes.”
Following his incredible physical and personal journey, Yves began travelling around BC to share his story. Like the many inspirational stories he read that motivated him to join the fight against diabetes, Yves hopes to encourage more support for the Association. “I suffer with this disease. I have heard many stories of people’s struggles with diabetes and I just want to help in any way I can.”
Because Yves lives with the disease every day, he firmly believes that government has a responsibility to support people living with the diabetes. “Governments should provide funds for people who struggle to pay for their medications and supplies. They should also support those who require a pump for better insulin control.* It would also be beneficial for them to pass laws to provide better information and education about food that is healthy as well as harmful to the body,” he stresses.
Yves’ journey with diabetes recently reached another significant milestone. His determination and contributions were honoured at the Association’s National Annual General Meeting in Edmonton, AB. Yves received the 2010 Kurt Kroesen National Inspiration Award, an annual honour bestowed on one individual in Canada who has overcome great odds to manage their diabetes and achieved success in their personal life or community despite the diagnosis. The award recipient must have type 1 or 2 diabetes and demonstrated an outstanding personal achievement with diabetes while exemplifying a positive, healthy attitude.
*Since 2008, the provincial government of British Columbia has funded the insulin pumps of type 1 diabetes patients aged 18 or younger.