Last minute ‘celebrity’ weighs in on challenge

“You weren’t all picked because you were good-looking people.”
That was how George Bartlett, co-organizer of the annual Diabetes Celebrity Challenge, put it as to how he chose the 11 local “celebrities” this year.
Well, I beg to differ, George. So my haircut is a little uneven. So I have a bit of the ol’ spare tire in the mid-section.
Err, what was my point again?
Ah yes, the annual Diabetes Celebrity Challenge has come and gone, leaving participants and organizer alike saying it has done wonders for awareness of this disease.
Meanwhile, I’m still wondering why the trophy isn’t sitting next to me instead of across the way in Bill Gushulak’s office at Fort Frances General Supply.
I wasn’t George’s original choice. I just stepped in when fellow reporter Jack Tynan left his position here at the Times and moved away earlier this month.
But this was more about getting a free stuffed bear, although I thoroughly enjoyed toting around my diabetes bear (I named him Kanyu D. Sucka, where the ‘D’ stands for ‘Diggit.’ Of course, most of the Times staff called him “Ike.”)
While my fellow “celebrities” enjoyed the banquet at La Place Rendez-Vous and revelled over receiving their certificates last Friday, I was out at Fort High covering the NorWOSSA playoff action for the sports section of the Fort Frances Times, a.k.a. “the People’s Section.”
Excuse me while I pretentiously brush my hair back and sigh: a celebrity’s work never ends (I assure you that’s the last time I describe myself in that manner!)
I didn’t get a chance to say a few words on my experiences with the challenge—something each of the other 10 challengers were allotted on Friday—so I’d like to do that now.
Being a recent “university student without a clue,” my breakfast usually consisted of a granola bar and a sip of cola. Scheduling was just a tough thing to get around (that and sleeping in and regularly missing my 8:30 a.m. lecture).
Living the life of a diabetic literally forced you to adjust your eating habits—and most importantly, your schedule. Because in the face of your health, a deadline for a term paper or a sports story seemed pretty unimportant.
As a reporter seemingly always on the go, I’ll admit that was my biggest problem throughout.
Thanks to registered nurse Cindy Gauthier and diabetes educator and registered nutritionist Sarah Ross, from the Valley Diabetes Education Centre here, who gave me a hand in starting the program, and to the Canadian Diabetes Association for being so creative in its ways of generating awareness for this widespread condition.
Massive props to my fellow challengers for giving this week a try. While the points we scored will never be released, I’m certain everyone but Tagg’s store manager Russ Ling beat me.
On a personal level, I don’t think I needed a bear to remind me of diabetes. My father, Ruben, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1993 so I’ve seen firsthand the adjustments he’s had to make.
In addition to his mother having the disease, chances are rather likely that I’ll be diagnosed when I’m over 40.
So in short: Celebrity? Certainly not. Challenge? Definitely. A wake-up call to improve my lifestyle to the point where I may avoid a serious diagnosis 20 years from now? Hopefully.
Oh, and will I try to sneak into Gushulak’s office while he’s on lunch and steal the trophy? You can count on it.
• • •
The local Tagg’s “AA” Bantam team is continuing its run of exhibition games this month. They let in a late goal against an Atikokan Midget team here Sunday to settle for a 5-5 tie.
Shaun Councillor, Tanner Kaemingh, Jamie Davis, Andrew Perreault, and Scott Bridgeman scored for Tagg’s.
• • •
Local judokas Tamara and Jared Catholique-Bruyere were in Winnipeg last weekend for the St. Boniface Open, where Jared, 14, won the gold medal in the juvenile 74-plus kg division.
He then went to Kenora, where he beat Christian Zelinski to qualify for the Northwest Region at the upcoming Ontario Winter Games in March.
Unfortunately, Tamara, 11, injured herself during her first match in the junior girls’ 55-plus kg division and was forced to forfeit.
• • •
Fort Frances native Rustyn Dolyny has had an impressive start to his pro hockey career. The former Michigan State captain earned United Hockey League player-of-the-week honours Mon-day for scoring six goals and two assits in five games.
In total, he has 12 points to lead all UHL rookie scorers.

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