August 20th, 2013
American Ninja Warrior Contestant Challenges Children to Better Manage their Diabetes
Challenging obstacles, strength training, and discipline at the gym are part of my everyday routine, which helps me to participate on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. My participation in this competition may surprise those who knew me when I was young because I was always the shortest and lightest kid in my class. But I haven’t let that or my type 1 diabetes stand in my way.
Nine years ago, at the age of 16, I switched from insulin injections to an insulin pump, and I couldn’t be more thankful for what it’s done for me both physically and emotionally.
The pump has given me the freedom to pursue my passions. Now I have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of sports and volunteer my time to help others. Most recently, I returned from Kenya where my team and I fed homeless families in slums, hosted a Christian camp for high school aged children, and built an elementary school in a rural village. Adventures like this one have always been my passion and goal.
Earlier this summer, I was invited to visit Camp Bluebonnet in Youngsport, Texas to help the children take charge of their diabetes management and encourage their parents to allow them to be more independent.
I chatted with the younger kids about managing their diabetes better, specifically in school and during sports. I talked about my personal fears and their own — challenging them to step out in bravery and be open to using an insulin pump.
With the older children, I shared how the Animas pump has changed my life. I also spoke with parents and challenged them to “love and let live” – a motto I live by every day. I believe the best way they can love their kids is to allow them to have freedom with diabetes.
I speak to children with diabetes to help them conquer their fears, set more goals for themselves, and aim to manage their diabetes proactively and independently. To me, diabetes isn’t a burden — but an opportunity to inspire. And I hope by continuing to speak to children who have been diagnosed with diabetes, I can inspire them as much as they have and continue to inspired me every day.
Kyle Cochran, 25 years old, has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 5. Once he starting using an insulin pump at the age of 16, he experienced a complete physical transformation and has competed in both seasons of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. Kyle is currently a student at San Diego State University and is extremely involved in many high intensity and extreme sports.
*Kyle is a paid spokesperson for Animas Corporation. However, his personal story of living with diabetes is provided in his own words.