When the Camping World Truck Series takes the track Friday night for the WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, Miguel Paludo’s No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet will have a completely different look. In an effort to raise more awareness for diabetes, the Brazilian, who has been named as the most recent–a first South American–Blue Circle Champion for the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), will run a “Unite for Diabetes” paint scheme this weekend.
IDF is an umbrella organization that encompasses over 200 diabetes associations covering more than 160 countries all over the world. Their mission is to “promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.” Founded in 1950, IDF has united organizations worldwide that are all united for one purpose: finding a cure.
Paludo was diagnosed with diabetes back in 2004 at the age of 20 and at the time thought he would never be able to lead a normal life thanks to the disease that affects more than 366 million people worldwide according to IDF. But that was hardly the case as has become clear with his tenure in the Camping World Truck Series along with his prior racing background.
“It’s extremely important and I think after Oliver was diagnosed, it opened my eyes even wider about diabetes,” Paludo said during the rain delay at TMS Thursday afternoon. “Last year, I had Stop Diabetes at Talladega and already had things planned this year, but after that happened, I thought we really need to do something for me, Oliver and all diabetics all over the world. It means a lot for me–it’s pretty cool to represent all diabetics all over the world. It gives me an extra strength to go to the racetrack and perform well. I’m really glad about it.”
Managing diabetes while on the race track isn’t as hard as you would think. For most people, the normal levels for sugar in the body is anywhere from 80 to 120, and Paludo usually elevates his levels closer to 200 prior to strapping into the truck to help maintain and avoid low sugar levels which can be dangerous and even deadly. Once the race is complete, he tests his levels again and usually takes insulin to bring his levels back to a more normal range.
“Learning that my son has diabetes has taught me that everything happens for a reason. I believe that my diagnosis eight years ago was to prepare my wife and I to take care of Oliver and teach him how to manage his diabetes. He is only eight months old and he will be a type 1 diabetic for the rest of his life, but it isn’t going to limit him in any way,” Paludo said. “I have been able to achieve my dream of becoming a racecar driver while being a diabetic, and it is important for me to be an example and show him that he can still do anything and everything he wants to do in his life. I’m honored to become on of IDF’s Blue Circle Champions, and my hope is to show people living with diabetes around the world the exact same thing that I want to show my son: diabetes can’t stop you.”
The Blue Circle Champion program is designed to help bring visibility and awareness to the disease that affects so many people, including those that have yet to be diagnosed. It consists of anyone from Olympic and professional athletes along with other high-profile personalities that live each and every day with diabetes. The Blue Circle name comes from the universal symbol for diabetes that serves to signify the global community and the struggle against the epidemic.
“We are delighted to welcome Miguel as IDF’s newest Blue Circle Champion. Being the first Champion from South America and coming from a country with the fifth highest number of people with diabetes in the world, his impact on our global diabetes community will be undeniably strong,” said President of IDF Jean Claude Mbanya. “Our community looks to champions like Miguel to show that you can achieve anything, not in spit of your diabetes, but because of it. Diabetes should not stop you leading a healthy and successful life.”
But Paludo’s awareness doesn’t stop there. He has multiple on and off-track promotions schedule between now and World Diabetes Day on November 14th. The date for World Diabetes Day coincides with the birthday of Frederick Banting, who with the help of Charles Best first discovered insulin back in 1920.
Bringing a disease that affects so many people worldwide to the forefront in a place like NASCAR is the perfect way to teach others about all different types of diabetes from type 1 and type 2 to gestational (pregnant onset). It’s definitely something that’s not to be taken lightly but will not hold anyone back from achieving nearly anything they’d like to.