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Steve Richert

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== Profile ==
Age: 31
Years with T1D: 15
Age at diagnosis: 16
From: Virgin, UT
Years climbing: 7
Favorite type of climbing: Alpine rock, Bigwall, Bouldering
Goals: complete my first solo bigwall, break into 5.13’s, complete first ascents with other T1D climbers
Contact: steve@livingvertical.org 

== Bio ==

Ever since I was a little kid, growing up in upstate New York, I dreamed of climbing mountains. What my locale lacked in topography I substituted with tree climbing–always imagining myself “way out there” on some epic rock face. My father was an iron worker who built sky scrapers in New York City and I think climbing things was a connection we shared even though he is still awaiting the day that I hang up my rope and rack in favor of a “real job and a haircut”. I was never very motivated and when I could take the easy way out of any type of physical activity, I did.

Then one day, when I was a 16 year-old sophomore in highschool, the option of taking the easy way vanished and I became a type 1 diabetic. In a flash I began to realize that the luxury of postponing “life” was an illusion that I could not afford to buy into any longer. I knew that unless I began pushing back hard against the conventional wisdom of what life with diabetes should look like, that I would be trapped in a world of fear, trying to just survive the complications I kept hearing and reading about while living life to the bare minimum.

Climbing is a universal symbol of freedom, personal responsibility and self reliance. I embraced climbing fully–not only because I wanted to climb, but because I wanted to show myself that I could take control of my life and that diabetes would NOT limit me. In 2012, after pursuing this way of life for about 14 years, I decided to found LivingVertical and take on Project365–selling all my “stuff” to live on the road and climb every single day across North America for a year. My hope was to share a message of empowerment with others who live with T1D while revolutionizing the way that the public sees this “invisible” illness.

Through LivingVertical I have met many incredible people who live with diabetes and pursue adventure and challenge rather than backing away from it, and I am privileged to be a part of this team that is empowering and inspiring the diabetes community every day by bringing diabetes into the vertical world.
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