When he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at 16, Steve Richert decided he wasn't gong to let it stand in his way of doing the things he set out to do.
A chronic illness, Type-1 diabetes is when the body's own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas used to process nutrients such as sugar.
Richert, a serious mountain and rock climber, is in the midst of a national tour called Project 365 through his LivingVertical non-profit foundation.
The goal of his one-year rock climbing challenge is to show people, especially kids that although it's a serious illness, they can manage it; they don't have to let it manage them.
His tour brought him to Georgia on Wednesday to meet with diabetics from metro Atlanta at the Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center, the country’s largest climbing gym, to formally kick off Steve’s Mountain, a diabetes education, awareness & fundraising partnership with Roche Diabetes Care.
Roche, maker of ACCU-CHEK® products is supporting Richert's project mission through a fundraising partnership. For every “Like” his climbing video receives, Roche will donate $1 to Steve’s Mountain.
"Climbing was always something that I've been passionate about," Richert told East Atlanta Patch.
Like rock or mountain climbing, diabetes management is a challenge but not insurmountable, he said.
"The message is that it is challenging but it doesn’t have to limit what you do or limit your pursuit of things you're passionate about," he said.
"Witht the right mindset and tools, diabetes is something you manage; it doesn't manage you."