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Hi I’m Steve Richert. This photo is what living with type 1 diabetes has meant to me over the last 14 years since I was diagnosed: an opportunity to embrace challenge, one step at a time!
I grew up thinking that climbing was something that was meant for “other people” who were braver or stronger, but when I was faced with a life altering diagnosis with T1D at age 16 I decided that I couldn’t afford to leave the great deeds to the great. I wanted to make my mark and get my piece of the action even if I was a complete beginner with little natural athleticism.
I have spent the time between then and now learning about my body, about the food that works for me and how my blood sugar responds to the demands of different environments. It has been a process–and many times that process has been a dark, difficult, beautiful and rewarding task. Through it all, my motivation has been to learn from the lessons that diabetes can teach, and thereby become stronger.
Over the years I have worked in camps, aquatics, colleges and as a climbing and canyoneering guide. Teaching people is the occupation that chose me. Through LivingVertical I have been fortunate to be able to harness the outdoors as my classroom and my goal is to empower you. To help you see yourself as being capable, not a victim. Challenge is built into life. We cannot escape it, but we can face it and make ourselves stronger. Diabetes is something that happened to me–it was not the end, it was the beginning.
LivingVertical was founded in August 2011 to create and promote a “new normal” of life with diabetes by showing PWD (people with diabetes) taking on extraordinary feats in the vertical world. We are committed to changing the perception of diabetes and its limitations through our Films and Climbing Projects.
Through adventure and art we are taking diabetes to places it has never been and bringing back a message of empowerment that is motivating a healthy, active diabetes community. Living Vertical has a very clear message for PWD that we are capable of the extraordinary and the exciting imagery to make this message resonate far outside of the diabetes community, so we can truly bring awareness and shed a positive light on this condition in the public sphere.