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Charleston native, diabetic prepares for New York City Marathon

Michael Frederick, 62, says running is what has helped him in his 59-year fight against diabetes.
Michael Frederick, 62, says running is what has helped him in his 59-year fight against diabetes.(Lambert & Co.)
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 11:39 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston man who has battled Type 1 Diabetes since he was 3-years-old is preparing to run in the New York City Marathon this weekend to help raise awareness for the autoimmune disease.

Michael Frederick, 62, says running is what has helped him in his 59-year fight against diabetes.

“I’d be dead and blind if I didn’t exercise,” Frederick said. “Early on I was into bike riding. Later on, I started running and I’ve been running for about 20 years now.”

Frederick is one of 50 runners chosen for the Beyond Type Run Team, a part of the nonprofit group Beyond Type 1 that aims to raise funds and awareness about Type 1 Diabetes.

“It’s about changing the way people view people that live with Diabetes,” Frederick said. “Everyone on the team that is running the marathon is a Type 1 Diabetic.”

Frederick credits new technology in recent years in helping him live with the disease. He wears a watch that always mirrors the readings of a continuous glucose monitor that checks his blood glucose levels. He also uses an insulin pump to help supply needed insulin to his pancreas as it needs it.

“We used to have to boil needles to give myself insulin shots,” he said. “Technology has just changed everything recently.”

The pancreas of people who have Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t produce any insulin so they have to either take shots or have a pump to deliver insulin to their bodies.

“When your blood glucose gets low it’s amazing what you think is the right thing to do and what’s not,” Frederick said. “The insulin pumps like I use now really make a huge difference.”

Frederick says this weekend’s race will be his second marathon and first since the 2013 Boston Marathon where a terrorist set off two bombs at the finish line, killing three people.

“I finished about five minutes before the bombs went off,” Frederick said. “I was standing at the finish line. If I had been a little bit slower there’s no telling what would have happened.”

Frederick says he is traveling to New York on Friday ahead of Sunday’s race and encourages anyone else that has Type 1 Diabetes to continue to exercise.

“Exercise keeps your blood flowing to all the blood vessels that if you don’t it gets thick and causes problems.”

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