With no family history of diabetes and little understanding of the disease, Kimball was overwhelmed when he was first diagnosed. Even worse, he was forced to put his racing career on hold until he could get his diabetes under control.
Kimball quickly learned that people with type 1 diabetes do not produce the insulin their bodies need to properly control blood sugar levels. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin. Despite available treatments, it still can be difficult to achieve optimal blood sugar goals. The resulting "highs" and "lows" can cause serious side effects, and for someone behind the wheel of a race car, the consequences could be deadly.
But Kimball, just 23 at the time, decided diabetes wouldn't be the end to his career. He worked with his doctor to find a treatment regimen that kept his diabetes under control on and off the track. He uses the Levemir FlexPen (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection) and NovoLog (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection) to help manage his diabetes. Kimball's team fit his race car with a continuous glucose monitor that provides real-time updates on his blood sugar levels and fashioned a special helmet system that enables Kimball to take a sip of sugar-rich orange juice if levels get too low while he's racing. With these changes in place, Kimball was back in the the No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car race car six weeks later and earned a triumphant podium finish in his first race since his diagnosis.
As the only licensed race car driver with diabetes in INDYCAR, Kimball is in the unique position to share his inspiring story with hospitals in the cities where he races, as well as at diabetes patient expos nationwide.
"I am so grateful to everyone at Novo Nordisk for standing beside me and encouraging me along the way," says Kimball, now 26. "Not only do they make the insulins I take every day to manage my diabetes, but together we've partnered to show that diabetes doesn't have to stop you from achieving your goals."
"Charlie Kimball is a role model for people living with diabetes," says Dr. Anne Peters, Charlie's endocrinologist and one of his biggest fans. "He works hard on and off the track to properly manage his condition and shows people that nothing, not even diabetes, should prevent them from pursuing their dreams."
Kimball is currently in his rookie season in the IZOD IndyCar Series and drives for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing.
Follow Kimball and his work with Novo Nordisk on Twitter @racewithinsulin or www.novonordisk-us.com. Please see www.novolog.com for NovoLog complete Prescribing Information.
Levemir and NovoLog are registered trademarks of Novo Nordisk A/S.