SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For those who don’t have the disease, it might be easy to overlook how many friends, neighbors and family members have to manage their lives with diabetes. Five-time Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall Jr., a man with his own diabetes story, was in Sioux Falls on Monday during National Diabetes Month; he is on the board for Sanford Health’s Research & World Clinic. He and Sanford Research President David Pearce shared how the health system tackles diabetes.
“They’ve got a pledge study, and it’s to identify and delay or even prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes,” Hall said. “And so very exciting research.”
“We have around about half a dozen trials specifically targeting type 1 diabetes right now,” Pearce said. “And more importantly, what we’re trying to do now is is bring down the age of the treatment and the recognition of type 1 diabetics.”
For Hall, the research is personal; he has type 1 diabetes. Viewers might remember a story KELOLAND News aired in 2021 that showed Hall in a more expected environment: the Midco Aquatic Center where he spent time with members of the Sioux Falls Swim Team. A diabetes diagnosis might knock anyone off their feet, at least initially.
“If you never washed your hands or brushed your teeth and all of a sudden we’re told, ‘You have to do this every single day for the rest of your life,’ it would seem like a terrible inconvenience,” Hall said. “But we don’t think anything of it, the way that we go about it. And so diabetes management eventually can be similar in that we just integrate these things and live a healthy, fulfilling life.”
He’s proof that athletic success is attainable in spite of diabetes. Three of Hall’s five gold medals came after his diagnosis.
“Gary’s been a tremendous advocate for type 1 diabetes and particularly for children when they’re diagnosed with this,” Pearce said.
Hall lives in California. In addition to his five gold medals, he has also won three silver medals and two bronze medals.