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San Diego woman will run NYC marathon on her birthday

Dana Simmons wants to show the world anything is possible with Type 1 Diabetes.

SAN DIEGO — Imagine celebrating your birthday with a twenty-six-mile run. In this Zevely Zone, I met a San Diego woman celebrating her big day at the New York City Marathon. 

Running that far is challenging for any runner, especially one living with a chronic disease. "I fell in love with running when I was in high school," said 23-year-old Dana Simmons.

Credit: CBS 8

As a child in 2010, Dana found herself sick in a hospital bed. "That was 11-year-old me, I was 20 pounds underweight I was incredibly thirsty going to restroom a lot, I had blurry vision," said Dana who was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

Despite the setback, she never stopped running thanks in part to her support system which includes her parents and boyfriend. "My boyfriend has actually been on most of my runs with me on his e-bike and he has been a huge support," said Dana.

Credit: Dana Simmons

She works as a communications manager for the Red Cross of Southern California Region. No matter where she is monitoring her blood sugar and insulin levels is a marathon in itself. "I have had runs where I have had to stop, I have not been able to finish because of my blood sugar and it makes it incredibly challenging," said Dana. But entirely possible, thanks to the technology she wears on her body. "On my wrist this is my Apple watch and my blood sugars get sent directly here that is connected to my Dexcom which is right here. This is a continuous glucose monitor. This is my Tandem t:slim insulin pump," said Dana. "So, it keeps me in range incredibly."  

Credit: CBS 8

Dana's training partner on this day was Blair Ryan from Tandem Diabetes Care who also lives with Type One Diabetes. "I think we have the same stuff in our pouches," said Dana. "This is what my blood sugar is right now." 

A song by Sia called Impossible has become Dana's mantra and her boyfriend won't let her forget it. "There is a line in there that says you are a Porsche with no breaks and that's kind of become our joke so when I am feeling down at the end of a run that is what he will say to me you are a Porsche with no breaks and that gets me through my last few miles," said Dana.

Credit: Dana Simmons

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She will run the marathon with the Beyond Type Run Team and her big day is November 6th.  "My birthday, ha, ha, ha," laughed Dana. "It's really incredible to feel empowered to do this."

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Dana is running the marathon with the Beyond Type Run Team presented by Dexcom and San Diego-based Tandem Diabetes Care. While she never thought she would be someone who would tackle the 26.2 mile race, she decided to lace up her sneakers to show the importance of managing diabetes with endurance because she believes managing a chronic disease is a marathon not a sprint.

If you'd like to help Dana with a donation, you can visit her fundraising page by clicking here.

For information about her Beyond Type Run 2022 Team Page click here

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