The Birth of ICD
ICD was founded by Chris Jarvis, a former Olympic rower who succeeded largely due to meeting a teenaged rower who had a lot in common, including T1D. Heather Van der Geest didn’t have all the answers either, but together they took on overcoming health challenges related to competing in rowing with diabetes at the top of the world. They both ended up competing for team Canada in Athens Greece and played a critical role in the birth of ICD.
Rowing Canada had many supports, coaches, medical, family and friends, but the biggest instigator for their growth came down to the leadership and chemistry amongst the athletes. I Challenge Diabetes then came out of a goal to provide a similar experience for others, where the challenges of diabetes are supported by a team with strong leadership to excel in any activity or scenario in life. The team has grown to encompass a diverse group of people supporting much more than just athletic challenges and remains open to all ages.
Who We Are
We are people with diabetes who want to live life to the fullest. We are parents who want to support our children to be their best. We are friends and health care providers who go above and beyond our call of duty to support people with diabetes.
What We Do
I Challenge Diabetes fosters a community of people with Type 1 Diabetes who, through experiential education and adventure, provide each other with the skills and confidence to overcome the daily challenges and create a new expectation for what we can accomplish.
The below numbers are taken from events facilitated by members of ICD’s team since 2011. Because of the depth of resources put into making deeper impacts in many organizations like ours, a standard calculation called “participant days” is used to fully account for multi-day programs.
unique Canadian cities served
participant days served
“I’m 17 years old and this is my second year in Tobermory. I love meeting new people, and making friendships that last a lifetime.”
“I’m 16 years old and met Elyse here in Tobermory last year and that’s where our friendship grew, that’s what ICD events are all about.”
“I have been involved in ICD since 2011 and now have this massive extended diabetic family that is the best! ICD gets me out of the city to do things I didn’t use to. I now know I love this adventurous life, I love ICD and you’re stuck with me forever.”
“I’m 21 years old and I’ve been coming to ICD events for 6 years. The very first ICD event I attended changed my life completely! I’ve made so many friends here and every single program has motivated me to manage my diabetes better!”
“I’m 17 years old and I’ve been coming to ICD events for 3 years. This is my first time in Tobermory and I can’t wait to come back next year!”
“I’m 24 years old, I’ve been involved with ICD since about 2008 and I Challenge Diabetes really gives people the opportunity to take control of their own diabetes management. ”
“I’m 13 years old and have been coming to ICD events for 3 years now. Every single event that I come to always feels so amazing. I just have so much fun because everyone is so supportive and I don’t feel at all alone with my diabetes management.”
“I’m 17 years old. I’ve been attending ICD events for 4 years, the positive vibes that I get from each event helps me in my day to day life and motivates me for months!”