A competitive swimmer, studying to be an engineer, Eshaan Shevate is not your average local teen. This 19 year old has scaled the Machu Picchu despite having Type-1 Diabetes. Eshaan was diagnosed with diabetes when he went for a routine health check up suggested by his swimming coach. His blood sugar was 560 and he was diagnosed with diabetes Type-1 at the tender age of 12.
“What does a child want when he is told he can’t have something?”, asks Eshaan, “the exact thing that he is told he can’t have! Although I don’t like sweets much, I wanted to eat sweets!”, he completes. He recalls his time at school when he would eat quickly and go to a place where nobody would see him take insulin injections. “That was tough. I didn’t want people to see or know that I was a diabetic. There’s hardly any awareness with respect to T1 diabetes,” he says.
Now, four years after Diabetes Care Research Foundation’s (DCRF) Dr. Abhay Mutha gave him a pump to manage his diabetes, does he feel at ease with his life? “Since 2010, my life has returned to normal, I can swim, trek, go to college and I don’t have to worry about taking injections,” says Eshaan. Dr. Abhay Mutha, founder and president of DCRF urges the public to take their health seriously. “A sedentary lifestyle, westernisation of food and lack of physical activities are all rising in India. Diabetes itself is not only the patient’s suffering, but the entire family also has to pay the price,” Dr. Mutha adds. A first of its kind in the country, DCRF’s most important project is the Childhood Diabetes Welfare Program where more than 300 children have been adopted by the organisation. The foundation takes care of their medicines, education and health welfare with the help of other associations in Pune.
According to 2012 figures, diabetes is seen in 60 million Indians. Some reports suggest that India has more diabetics than any other country in the world. As scary as these numbers sound, the awareness around diabetes is comparatively less. Diabetes can wrought hell on a patient and prevent them from leading a normal life. The patient must be administered insulin injections depending on their type of diabetes and lack of care can be fatal.
Sanofi, a global healthcare group, partnered with the World Diabetes Tour for the second year in a row and organised the T1D Challenge at Machu Picchu. Last year, the T1D Challenge led a group of diabetics to Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Ramprasad Bhat, Senior Director, Diabetes Business Unit, Sanofi India said, “We are very proud that a patient from India participated and successfully completed Sanofi and the World Diabetes Tour’s Type 1 Challenge to Machu Picchu. We believe Eshaan’s story will help spread the powerful message that diabetic patients can take on all life challenges if they receive timely support, abide by the advice of their doctor and diligently follow their treatment plan.”