SHENANDOAH, Iowa — With a motto of “One step at a time, one run at a time,” Doug Masiuk is running not only for his own life, but others' as well.
Masiuk is running across the United States on a mission to help teach others about Type 1 diabetes through the organization 1Run.
“We're entering into an era where one in three Americans will have a version of diabetes by 2030,” Masiuk said. “We're losing well over 100,000 people a year from diabetes. To me, this is a war.”
Diagnosed at age 3 with Type 1 diabetes, Masiuk had to learn at an early age how to manage the disease. But it wasn't until two years ago that his true journey toward health began.
“I had a career working in computers, and I was neglecting things I shouldn't have been — which was exercise in my life,” Masiuk said. “I came to the realization that if I had any chance to be 80 years old, I needed to be doing it better than the next guy.
“I started exercising and running a little bit — maybe an eighth of a mile and I'd fall over. But then after four or five months, that turned into 15 miles.”
Eventually, Masiuk was running 20 to 30 miles. He came up with the idea to run across the country and founded 1Run.
Along the way he visits schools, organizations, hospitals, camps and stores, telling his story and reaching out to those suffering from the disease.
“When I was diagnosed, I was just on the cusp of the diagnosis being a death sentence,” said Masiuk. “Subsequently it's gotten better and better and better. If you follow the rules, you have a better shot of making it to 100 than your peers do.”
Masiuk started his run in San Francisco in May, running 20 to 30 miles per day.
Earlier this week he was in Shenandoah, where he spoke to customers at Walmart and Hy-Vee Supermarket, as well as patrons of the Bricker Senior Center.
A native of Annapolis, Md., Masiuk hopes to be in New York City by late November.
Because of Masiuk's exercise regime and healthy diet, he only needs one-fourth of the insulin he used to.
Masiuk's also learning about the kindness and generosity of strangers, as well as the beauty of this country.
“There are decent people everywhere. You'll get a trucker that locks up his brakes in the highway to see if I'm OK,” said Masiuk. “It's really amazing.”