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Famous People with Diabetes: Sean Busby

Learn about the struggles and successes of some of your favorite celebs and athletes with diabetes.


Claim to Fame: Olympic snowboarder
Diabetes Type: 1

Champion snowboarder Sean Busby trained for the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. As a nationally-ranked snowboarder, Busby is known for his events in slalom and giant slalom. Though he had only been snowboarding professionally for a few years, his dedication and determination as an Olympic athlete brought him to the top of his game.

For the majority of Sean’s life, he was able to go about his business with no concerns. He did well in school, was a great athlete, and had no health implications. Sean picked up snowboarding at age thirteen, and immediately fell in love with the sport. During his senior year of high school, Sean decided to start a professional career in snowboarding. He traveled to British Columbia and was called “The Rookie” when he began to compete. Sean was snowboarding against kids who had been snowboarding almost their whole lives—which only motivated him to strive to be even better.

A couple of years later, Sean relocated to Steamboat, Colorado with the Winter Sports Club. In 2004, during the off-season (better known as mud season—early spring, when the snow has melted and the mountains are muddy), Sean became extremely ill. He had just finished up an extremely successful snow season at the Canadian National Championships. After losing a total of twenty-three pounds and coming down with a bad case of pneumonia, Sean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

To this day, Sean has not let his disease defeat him. “Diabetes has tried very hard to stop me from being an athlete,” he said. “It will continue to do that, but it will never win. This friend that will remain with me for the rest of my life until a cure is found is not going to determine how I live my life.”

Today, Sean is extremely involved with JDRF. He volunteers as a speaker and inspiration to all children living with diabetes. He has dedicated a lot of his time to setting up the Riding On Insulin snowboard camps.

Sean’s message to the dLife community: “To be honest, until I was diagnosed I did not understand the disease. I have found that this disease is willing to be my ‘best friend’ if I choose to continue to take care of myself. Sure, the risks of complications are there, but I believe you can’t sit around and discontinue a normal life. If I stop doing the things that I love, then I have let the disease defeat me, and have chosen to distance myself from this ‘friend’ that won’t leave me alone until a cure is found.”

For more information on Sean Busby and the snowboard camps he has founded, visit http://thebusbyhive.com/.

Famous People with Diabetes: Sean Busby
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