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Health & Wellness: 'Iron Andy' a diabetic who lives without limits

Leigh Ann Laube • Apr 28, 2010 at 12:00 AM

“Iron Andy” Holder, an Ironman competitor who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 36, will kick off the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Tri-Cities & Southwest Virginia Walk to Cure Diabetes at 9:40 a.m., Saturday May 1, at Warriors’ Path State Park in Kingsport.Andy Holder has always been the type of person to look for a new challenge, but his biggest challenge found him in 2005. He has been an athlete all of his life, playing football, baseball and wrestling. After college, Holder maintained a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating well and becoming a body builder.After his diagnosis, Holder, a husband and father of two young boys, was scared, angry and depressed. But, after researching the disease, he realized this was another challenge he would overcome. Rather than allow diabetes to control him, he decided to take control of his condition. Holder was determined to do something extraordinary and to prove that no matter what challenges life presents, you can reach goals beyond your wildest dreams. He decided to become an Ironman triathlete.To challenge himself and inspire others, he has engaged in the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, as Ironman competitors swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and complete the event by running a full marathon of 26.2 miles.Holder faces additional challenges as an athlete with diabetes. He must keep his blood sugar levels in check, which involves careful meal planning, wearing an insulin pump, and testing his blood sugar a dozen times a day — even while running or riding his bike. Despite these obstacles, Holder has persevered and has completed three full Ironman competitions. Holder shares his story with others across the country. He has joined forces with Diabetes Shoppe, a program offered by AmerisourceBergen, as an official spokesperson for the “Managing Diabetes: Living Without Limits” campaign.Registration for the May 1 walk begins at 8:30 a.m., with the walk set for 10 a.m.For more information about Holder, visit http://livingwithoutlimits.diabetes-shoppe.com. For more information about the JDRF Tri-Cities & Southwest Virginia Walk to Cure Diabetes, visit http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=107887.

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