Christian lives for racing! He remembers first going Go Karting (also known as “karting”) at age nine with his dad and absolutely loving it. Christian trained hard, and within a few years was competing at an international level.
Things seemed to take a turn when Christian was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in July 2019. At first, he thought he’d never be able to race again. Luckily, this wasn’t the case as Christian realised that just like he had done with racing, he was determined to master T1D. With the added help from Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), Christian has been able to keep a hold on his levels and compete at his best when racing.
To find out more, we chatted to Christian about his love of karting, his diabetes journey and the tools he uses to make sure he can always compete at his best.
Q: Have you always loved racing? How did that start?
At age nine, I went to a hire karts place with my dad for a bit of fun on the weekend. Who would have known that weekend would change my world completely!
I kept asking about going back and eventually my dad bought a second-hand Go Kart so I could race it at a club level in Newcastle. Pretty soon we were spending most of our spare weekends practising.
Starting as a cadet, you learn the basics of how to be a racing driver, and at the time I was on top of the world! As a nine year-old kid, 80km/hour is mind blowing! And from there, it was an absolute love for the sport straight away. A few years went past, and I got older, faster and stronger. It was around age 11-13, everything kicked into another gear! I started competing internationally in European and global championships.
But on 06/07/19, my whole life and everything I thought was normal, got flipped on its head completely when I was diagnosed with T1D. At first, I thought I’d never be able to race a kart again, let alone a car. It felt like my dream was coming to an end. But I took it on the chin, and decided that I could master T1D, like I did with racing.
Q. When returning to the track, what tools did you use manage your diabetes?
I figured that I’d been quite fortunate with racing because you always work to a number and the same goes for T1D. In my eyes, I didn’t have a choice, I had to master T1D – there was no other option. So I persisted and remained dedicated to my racing, and learning about diabetes, and it was only three weeks after diagnosis that I jumped back into a kart and started testing how T1D was going to affect my driving.
I received support and guidance from family, friends and the diabetes educators at John Hunter Hospital, which allowed me to race again, so I could be off again and discovering my new normal.
In terms of school, it took a bit of time to get into a routine after diagnosis but the school were very helpful. They’ve assisted me every step of the way though, as I was on a Sports Scholarship program, even before my diagnosis, which allowed me to compete overseas.
I was also very lucky that I was set up with Dexcom CGM only 3-4 weeks after my diagnosis, and really, the rest is history! In those first few weeks, it was constant pricking to test my blood sugar levels, and my fingers hurt. I’m glad I don’t have to do that as much. I still get a bit anxious when it’s time to change the transmitter each week, but I’m getting better.
Q: Are there any other Dexcom features that helped you on or off the track?
Having Dexcom at school, work, and even a racetrack – it’s a massive helping hand. My personal favourite thing about Dexcom G5 Mobile is that it will wake me up at any time of the night to alert me that I’ve gone too high or too low. Even though, I don’t like being woken up in the middle of the night, living with T1D – anything can happen overnight, so this feature is great for me.
I like that Dexcom G5 Mobile has the Share feature as well. If I’m out with some mates and I’m not looking at my CGM, I can always guarantee that my mum is checking through the Dexcom Follow App, and without that – I’m on my own.
If you don’t currently have a CGM, I highly recommend it!
Q: And where are you at now, following diagnosis and back to racing?
I’ve had T1D now for around eight months and it’s been some of the coolest eight months of my life! Just recently, I signed with Carlin Racing Team in the UK competing in the British Formula 4 Championship and I couldn’t be more excited! I will be the youngest driver to take the track and I can’t wait!
Editor note: Christian has always wanted to race, ever since that first weekend with his dad, karting. When he was diagnosed with T1D, Christian didn’t let this slow him down as he used his ever-positive attitude and Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM to keep him on track whilst competing. He’s now the youngest driver for the Carlin Racing Team, and this is just the beginning of a long and successful career.
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“My personal favourite thing about the Dexcom G5 Mobile is that it will wake me up at any time of the night to alert me that I’ve gone too high or too low. Even though, I don’t like being woken up in the middle of the night, living with T1D – anything can happen overnight, so this feature is great for me.”
Sam believes that T1D doesn’t need to hold you back from accomplishing your dreams. In 2007, Sam debuted in professional AFL for the Western Bulldogs, and since then has gone from competing on the field to fatherhood. In 2020, Sam upgraded from Dexcom G5 Mobile to Dexcom G6 to monitor and manage his diabetes.
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