The inspiring stories behind the Big Blue Test video - Part 2: George and Bill

Yesterday, we shared the stories of Zippora and Samantha, two of the inspiring people that you can see in the Big Blue Test video. Today, we bring you two more stories: George and Bill.

The story of George
George Simmons blogs at and tweets @ninjabetic. He shared with us a bit of the story of his life with diabetes and his thoughts about the Big Blue Test.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 17. My diabetes life was spent mostly in denial during my 20’s. Feeling alone and depressed I chose to keep diabetes on the back burner. Sure I took my insulin and stayed away from sugar but I did not test my blood sugar very often.

An episode of DKA sent me to the hospital for 4 days and diabetes finally received the attention it needs. After meeting with an endo and finding out my A1C was 12.5 I searched online to find some help with diabetes. That was when I found diabetes blogs, podcasts, and communities to connect with. I soon started my own blog and began to share my diabetes life with the world.

Two things come to my mind about the Big Blue Test video. One is all of the smiles. Seeing everyone on screen smiling gives me hope. Hope for a cure. Hope that we are all going to be okay. Hope that diabetes is not going to steal my life away.

The second thing that I think about every time I watch it is the relationship I have with my son. We are not only family but we are friends and I love him with all of my heart. I see us having fun, laughing and hugging and I think that one day he is going to show that clip to his grand kids and tell them about their granddad and how he didn’t let a disease hold him back.

Diabetes is tough and can knock a person down. It cannot knock you down however if you have a huge support system there to fight it with you. That is what the Big Blue Test is to me. That is what all this community is about. Standing together. Helping each other. Fighting this disease.

The story of Bill
In 1983, Bill Carlson was the world’s first person with type 1 diabetes to Ironman. During the shooting of the video, we were going uphill and Bill was biking behind the car we were shooting from… we had to “step on it” because he was about to pass us! :slight_smile:

I have been an athlete all of my life. I developed diabetes when I was a high school football player but that didn’t bother me that much. Just had to get things under control and continue what I loved to do most and that was working out.

I found that my love exercise was something that others with diabetes did not have and that the exercise was very good for people who have diabetes. So I have turned myself into an example, a role model, for others who have diabetes. It has really been terrific for those I have inspired.

I will continue my athletics, diabetes or not. I just want to bring as many people along with me as I can in this endurance way of life. What a joy it is to really fly under your own power.

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 pm (your local time, wherever you live), do the Big Blue Test.

Visit for details.

Thanks Manny for your thoughts. The beat goes on with athletics and precise blood sugar control or as best as I can. The the story, you may check grammar, some words are needed for the piece to sound correct. Also, may add that I know not everyone is not or has the ability to be an endurance athlete. But the message is for all with our abilities to pursue activity, "Drop the excuses and make the daily if not hourly decision to move your muscles and ask for glucose in the body to propel your body. This action, done daily, will save eyes, legs, hearts, kidneys, and your life. Love life and yourself. Choose to win everyday with the activity that most will not do. If we do it, we win. Just Do It! and live well. God Bless your journey to be safe and fit."
Thanks Manny for the opportunity to add.
Sean also mentioned my mileage may be reimbursed, I suspect through sponsor Roche. 314 miles to Topanga Beach and return to my home in Bermuda Dunes. Text me if you need my address 760-399-6511

Thanks Manny for sharing these positive stories and images. We need the world to see and to remind ourselves that people with diabetes can do things, can be active, can be athletes.

Both George and Bill are huge inspirations for me, and it was such a thrill to see them on this video.

Thank you George and Bill! :slight_smile:

Bill, I think they meant you might be reimbursed for mileage in your car. Since you probably rode your bike, you’re out of luck.
All of the stories are very inspiring. I can hardly wait to read about Manny.
Best to you all.