• Jason Wark


  • Graham Hempel


  • Stephanie Bonas

    Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

  • Miriam Dos Anjos

    Chair, Wee Challengers Program

  • Oria James

    Diabuddies Speaker

  • Wade Ivan

    Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

  • Kristen Garland

    Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

  • Tino Montopoli

    Board Member

  • Beth Miller


  • Pepe Bakshi

    Board Member

  • Amy Watkinson


  • Tyson Fiveland

    Outdoor Adventure Team Leader

  • Hunter Dixon

    Sports Camp Team

  • Monica Sadik


  • Sarah Rinke

    Sports Camp Team

  • Emilee Wilson

    Digital Content Creator

  • Dana Belore


  • Imran Nathani

    Operations Specialist

  • Chris Jarvis

    Founder & President of ICD

  • Alan Stewart

    Co-Secretary of the Board

  • CherieAnne Young

    Co-Secretary of the Board

  • Kristi Marucci

    Board Member

  • Richard Biddlecombe

    Treasurer of the Board

  • Robin Fagnan

    West Coast Team Lead

  • Tracy DiMarco

    Program Manager

  • Lisa Geelen

    Chair, Kids In School Initiative

  • Elizabeth Harvey


  • Davis Jamieson

    Outdoor Adventure Team Lead

  • Matt Swain

    Diabuddies Speaker and Mentor

  • Geoff Thornton-Trump

    Logistics support leader

  • Heather van der Geest

    Volunteer Leader

  • Chris Chesham


  • Dessi Zaharieva


  • Erika Arff


Jason Wark


Hometown: Campbell River,BC

I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when I was 12 years old. I have been living with T1D for over 15 years now. I have used a pump in the past but I have been back on multiple daily injections and using a dexcom for the last couple years.

My favorite thing about ICD is the instantaneous connections it allows people with T1D to make. A sense of community is felt instantly when attending an event. For me this brings so much joy and an overwhelming feeling of being understood..

As a type one diabetic I committed to pursuing a hockey career. I also raced cross-country skis before hockey took over. As leisure, I really enjoy hiking with my dog Kobe, riding my road and mountain bikes, and downhill/cross country skiing.

I raced cross-country skis at a high level as a young teenager. My biggest accomplishment with this was winning a silver medal in the sprint at the BC winter games.

I played 4 years of Junior hockey and received a scholarship to play post secondary at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where I played 4 years and received two diplomas in Business Management and Forest Technology. My biggest accomplishment in my hockey career was winning two ACAC Championships with NAIT where we went undefeated (36-0) in one of those seasons.

Currently I am working as a Forest Engineer on the Coast of British Columbia.

I eat over 600 grams of Carbohydrates a day. I follow a low-fat, plant-based way of eating to increase my insulin sensitivity and protect myself from future complications. This has changed my life for the better and it is something I am very passionate and excited about sharing with the ICD community.

Graham Hempel


Hometown: Owen Sound, ON

I’ve been type 1 diabetic for 17 years and ICD has been a part of my life since I was 15. Chris and the ICD team have inspired me to pursue physical activity and adventure. After my university years I am excited to have reconnected with ICD and to be a mentor for young diabetics with a drive for adventure.

My favourite thing about I Challenge Diabetes is the attitude of inclusion and the clear message that anyone can participate in extreme activity. The group encourages diabetics to overcome their perceived limitations – teaching independence and driving good diabetes management along the way. I think ICD helped me get motivated to control my sugars during some tougher teenage years.

I’m an avid traveller and backpacker (both the urban and backcountry type). At 17 I travelled solo through New Zealand, and did 300 km of multi-day backcountry hiking. Now I’ve been through 20 countries but I still love Canada’s wilderness the best. I moved to Nova Scotia in 2019 after finishing my engineering degree at Waterloo.

I love food and cooking, and a big part of travelling for me is to try all the different foods around the world. I like the challenge of guessing carbs in unfamiliar foods from a menu you can’t read.. I also love board games and funky music.

Stephanie Bonas

Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

Hometown: Dana Point, CA

My Connection to T1D:

My son Lennox was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2016.




Miriam Dos Anjos

Chair, Wee Challengers Program

Hometown: Aurora, ON

My Connection to T1D:

My son, Mason was diagnosed with T1 at 16 months old (September 26, 2014) My niece was diagnosed at the age of 20 (November 1, 2017)

What’s your Favourite Thing about ICD?

 I have a few – inclusion, support, understanding, and the compassion.

I love to have fun and keep busy with my children and husband.


Oria James

Diabuddies Speaker

Hometown: Victoria, BC

My Connection to T1D:

I’ve been living with T1D for 10 years! I was diagnosed in elementary school at 10 years old.

What’s your Favourite Thing about ICD?

By far, my favourite thing about ICD is the community. ICD was an influential support during the adaption period after my T1D diagnosis. The outdoor programs showed me two things – that I was not alone with T1D, and that diabetes never had to be a barrier to physical activity.

I’m a massive plant mom! My room has nearly a dozen plants in it. I’ve styled my bedroom after the British Columbia landscape, I’ve covered my walls with tapestries of forests and mountains.


Wade Ivan

Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

Hometown: Toronto, ON

My Connection to T1D:

My daughter, 8, was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 2 1/2.

What’s your Favourite Thing about ICD?

I’ve through necessity learned about the policies and procedures of the Toronto District School Board and have spoken to and educated school and daycare staff each year my daughter has been in school from JK until now. That’s how I learned about and came to work with I Challenge Diabetes! I’ve also presented to TDSB Chairs and Committees about accommodations and procedures regarding Type 1. I’m learning how to get over hurdles, answer questions, calm fears but most of all to teach and empower the support team of educators our children rely on every day.

Also, I’m a runner but the accomplishment I’m most proud of is my daughter’s — seeing her compete in school cross country each year.

I ran the Boston Marathon in 2017. The race went very badly for me but I had I written “For Type 1 D” on my arm and had the chance to chat with spectators who saw the message and shared their stories.

Kristen Garland

Diabuddies Speaker - Staff Training

Hometown: Whitby, ON

My Connection to T1D:

I have been a T1 Diabadass since 1998. I was diagnosed at 26yrs, just 5 years after experiencing Gestational Diabetes during my first pregnancy. Fast forward 15yrs, my 6 year old daughter was diagnosed. She is my blood sugar buddy and inspires me every day with her tenacity, bravery and perseverance.

ICD is run and supported by passionate advocates in the T1D community… many of who have T1 themselves, or parent T1 warriors and want to raise awareness for the health and safety of future generation(s).

I am both a strong leader and team player, with a proven ability to nurture positive relationships. My career history includes supervisory and facilitation responsibilities and reflects my commitment to excellence. Being a confident, driven and passionate professional, I thrive in an environment of change, challenge and innovation, and am dedicated to serving and supporting others with enthusiasm and empathy.

I grew up in Boston, have dual citizenship and am a Pats fan for life!



Tino Montopoli

Board Member

Introducing Tino Montopoli, B.Sc.Phm., Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Insulin Pump Trainer, Certfified CGMS Trainer, T1D since Feb 1964

Tino completed his undergraduate training at the University of Toronto. He currently practices at Stutt’s Pharmacy and Diabetes Depot in Orono, Ontario. He has held a part time position with the Peterborough Family Health Team  since 2008 where he assists other team members in managing persons with diabetes. He has written or reviewed numerous articles relating to diabetes. Tino has also delivered patient and pharmacist level seminars on the general management of diabetes, obesity, insulin therapy and cardiovascular disease.


Tino has been recognized for his work in diabetes education and awarded the CPhA Pharmacist Diabetes Educator of the Year Award in 1998, Honourable Mention for Pharmacy Practice’s Commitment to Care Award in 1997, the CDA Citation Award in 2000 and the Ontario Pharmacist’s Association Wyeth Apothecary Award in 2009.

Beth Miller


I’m proud to say I’ve been an athlete since a young age, always pursuing my passion for sport. Recently, I’ve been carded as a provincial athlete in Alberta for rowing, competing at a national level. I’ve also hiked numerous challenging trails with ICD, from Tobermory to the West Coast Trail, all while managing my diabetes!”

Personal Fun Fact:

“I’m sure some other diabetics can say this, but I’ve always thought a fun fact about myself is that I’m able to drink an entire juice box in my sleep!”

Pepe Bakshi

Board Member

Former Executive Director with the Charles. H Best Centre, Pepe brings over 10 years of board experience to ICD. His over 30 years of Corporate and Entrepreneurial experience in Business, Finance and Fundraising is an asset to our team.

As a type one diabetic for over 40 years, and a father to a son with t1d, his ties and passion for the diabetes community in the GTA and beyond, are both personal and professional. His vision for how ICD can continue to grow is invaluable.

In his spare time, Pepe enjoys cycling, hiking and being outdoors with his family and his dog.

Amy Watkinson


“I have been type 1 diabetic for 19 years.”

“I thought no one would ever understand what its like to live with this disease. Until my first ICD event. I will never forget the first time I tested my blood sugar with a friend!! It was with Chris Jarvis (founder of ICD), and since then, we have tested our blood sugars together more times than I can count!! “

“I have been on ICD’s Tobermory Adventure 5 times, been to Disney 19 times!! I also used to be a competitive gymnast.”

Tyson Fiveland

Outdoor Adventure Team Leader

“I have been a type one diabetic for 15 years. I don’t remember not having diabetes!”

“For me, ICD’s work is so important as it teaches kids of all ages that no matter what, diabetes or anything for that matter, should not stop you from accomplishing your goals. This is a message that needs to be heard. This was a message that I needed to hear.

“I had the opportunity to represent Team Canada at the Junior Olympics in Roller Hockey last summer. Wearing the Maple Leaf is a feeling like no other.”


Hunter Dixon

Sports Camp Team

“I was diagnosed at a very young age (22 months old) with T1D. I have been living over 14 years with T1D.So far in my teenage years I have kept my A1c under 8.”

“I enjoy meeting new people at ICD events. I also enjoy the many different adventures and activities that ICD have to offer.”

“I have sprained my ankle while playing ManHunt in a hotel.
I have bolused for 300 carbs for one meal.”

Monica Sadik


“I’ve been a type one diabetic for 13 years! Since its been so long, I cant even remember NOT having T1D! It definitely shaped the life I chose and decisions I made – like working with ICD!”

“I love that ICD advocates for those who are unable to advocate for themselves, or seek support elsewhere. At ICD, T1Ds are working with T1Ds, to support T1DS. It’s so refreshing to see so much representation within an organization! At ICD, our leaders will connect you with the best supports and resources to best manage your diabetes and live your fullest life. Nothing can stop us here!”

“I firmly believe that I could give up real food for the rest of my life in replace for desserts. Im talking ice cream for breakfast lunch, and dinner. And donuts in between.. duh! My greatest accomplishment is definitely travelling solo to Europe for 2 weeks. Now I travel all the time and cant seem to get rid of the travel bug!”

Sarah Rinke

Sports Camp Team

 “I was diagnosed with type one at the age of four and have been managing my disease while educating others ever since!”

“I really love that this organization focus on what diabetics can do and not what society say they cannot. Their focus of empowerment and building confidence well welcoming and educating non-type ones creates a community that bonds with ease.”

“I have a huge laugh that some how always becomes part of how I’m identified!!”


Emilee Wilson

Digital Content Creator

, BC

“I have had type one for 26 years!”

“My favourite thing about ICD is the community; all the connection, support, motivation, and growth that occurs. And of course all the unforgettable adventures and and the challenges that push us and show us what we’re really capable of!”

“I can’t wink (looks more like I’m having a stroke!), whistle, or snap!”


Dana Belore



Do You Have A Connection To T1D?

“I have had diabetes since 1999 and have not let it stop me from accomplishing anything that i had wanted to do!  T1D has played an immense role in who I have become as a person, it has taught me many lessons and has connected me to some of the most amazing people I know. The T1D community has supported me since I was first diagnosed. I met Chris Jarvis at a nearby school “Diabuddies Presentation” when I was in grade 4 and immediately wanted to be apart of this leadership team. I started doing school talks at my own school and even won an regional award for it from Diabetes Canada! I am an active volunteer with ICD, Work at the Diabetes Sports camp in the summer and hope to give back to it in anyway I can!”

“The memories and friendships I’ve made through ICD mean the world to me and specifically the Tobermory Extreme Adventure is my happy place. It has made me a better person and enabled me to build my skills to travel the world as a diabetic with a lot of confidence! ICD is open to everyone, any ability and any place in the T1D spectrum of life and I love that we can help each other when times get tough.”

“I am now going to school to be an outdoor educator! After years of adventure with ICD, it will soon be my turn to take the lead!”






Imran Nathani

Operations Specialist

Toronto, ON

“Yes, I am a T1D myself. I have had diabetes since 1999 and have not let it stop me from accomplishing anything that i had wanted to do!”

“Whenever someone approaches us with an out of the box idea the first thing we do it figure out how does diabetes play into it. Together we can problem solve the diabetes part of the idea and then tackle the rest of it just like anyone else without diabetes would. Its not something that we let limit anyone to accomplishing their goal but using it as a platform to empower people to get together and challenge themselves to doing remarkable things.”

“I was final owner of the diabetes mobile. A vehicle that was only owned by 2 other diabetes previous to me!”

Chris Jarvis

Founder & President of ICD

Grimsby, ON

Diagnosed as a kid, I didn’t have the type of support I needed with my diabetes, and would often feel alone in facing challenges related to T1D. Through trial and error, I managed to hone my skills as a rower, and went on to compete at thy Olympics and various world championships. I found that even at the highest level, most coaches and trainers didn’t understand diabetes, so I mostly self-managed while trying to educate others along the way.

Fast-forward 15 years, and now my “connection to T1D” spans this entire community! I love being able to provide the support to so many that I lacked in my early years. I’ve met so many incredible individuals and families, and yet still feel like we’re just cracking the surface of what ICD is capable of!

“The community, support, and passion we’ve seen from everyone who has been involved since day 1! Whether it’s an extreme adventure, a parent info session, or a Diabuddies school tour presentation, I’ve seen time and time again the impact these programs have on families who are used to feeling isolated and alone. Watching new participants interact with our ICD team make for some of my favourite moments, and make me proud to be the founder of this organization.”

“I also live with Celiac disease, which adds another layer of challenges to nutrition and T1D management. I’m lucky to have an incredible family and support system! My wife Angie and one year old daughter Stella are always looking out for me, and are now the main reason I’m motivated to keep my blood sugar stable.


Alan Stewart

Co-Secretary of the Board

Alan is a professional engineer engaged in the design and certification of helicopter modifications and located in Vancouver. He has a bachelor’s and master’s in the field of mechanical engineering and aerodynamics. His 30+ years of military and civilian aviation work have provided a broad spectrum of technical and management knowledge and skills. His involvement in diabetes began when his daughter was diagnosed at age 4, where he took an active role in the management process. As a result, Alan and his wife Liz were soon teaching the diabetes clinics their coping strategies. Outside of work, Alan has been a passionate volunteer with Scouts Canada for 15 years, teaching and leading youth on numerous outdoor adventures. As well, his work on outdoor risk management for watercraft journeys has been published. Alan’s involvement with ICD began as a participant on a ski trip, but quickly progressed into co-leading 3 other events, including the 2013 Bowron Lakes trip. He brings his pragmatic approaches to policy, procedures and writing skills to the board and organization.

CherieAnne Young

Co-Secretary of the Board

CherieAnne is an Administrative Assistant with more than 20 years in Office Management, Support Staff Management, Training, Supervision and Event Planning.  CheriAnne feels the same passion, commitment and dedication to those who deal with Diabetes as her son Spencer is a Type 1 Diabetic. He was diagnosis in September 2006 and at that moment, their lives changed and took on a new meaning.  It has been CherieAnne’s goal to assist her son, family, community and anyone she comes in contact with who deal with this disease on a daily basis. She strongly believes that knowledge is power and sharing it can change a life.  CherieAnne hopes as a Director that she will be able to assist with her years of experience in Administration, Finance, Fundraising and Outreach. Her son Spencer has attended many events with ICD and she has been proud to watch him grow gaining more confidence and independence with his Diabetes Management.

Kristi Marucci

Board Member

Kristi is a wife to a loving husband, Paul, for 11 years. She is a mother of 3 kids; daughter Charlee (age 10, diagnosed T1D at age 2), son Anthony (age 6, diagnosed T1D at age 5), daughter Isabella (age 3, keeps her on her toes!).

Kristi became a stay at home mom after 8 years in the group insurance industry, where she specialized in customer service, administration, and claim review. Her focus was on  out of country claims, as well as regular and complex diabetic claims. Like many parents in the T1D community, she left her career in the insurance industry to be closer to her kids school, and to be readily available for Charlee’s diabetes needs during the school day.

Now, Kristi runs a home based business called The North Shore Cabin, where she sells women and children’s clothing.

Since their first child was diagnosed, Kristi has been very prominent in the diabetic community. She has been actively advocating with local school boards, challenging outdated policies and regulations surrounding T1D. She has also been a steady volunteer for ICD, specifically with the Diabuddies School Tour.

Richard Biddlecombe

Treasurer of the Board

Richard completed an undergraduate degree in Accounting and successfully passed the UFE in 2013 for his Chartered Accounting designation. Richard currently resides in Vancouver where he works in the Private Enterprise & NPO Practice Group at a mid-sized Chartered Accounting firm. Through Richard’s work history, he brings experience in all areas of NPO financial matters including governance, CRA compliance, and internal control implementation.  From a young age Richard has been involved with various Diabetes organizations including fundraising events with the JDRF as well as event planning for ICD. His highlight was participating in Cyclebetes in 2009, biking across Canada with a relay team to raise awareness and funds for the JDRF.  Richard was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 6 and has been living with it for over 20 years.

Robin Fagnan

West Coast Team Lead

“T1D since 2002. I am outside of the box by being diagnosed later in my life, but have worked extensively with Type 1’s of all ages for approximately the last ten years. It has been an amazing learning experience! I never cease to be amazed by people’s resilience and commitment to still doing what they want to do within the challenges of the disease!”

“We provide the support to allow people to move past their self limitations and connect with their true potential. The challenges of this disease are many and deeply complex, tending to lead people into a more limited way of living. Through our programming and support we watch again and again as people redefine what they are capable of, and who they are. It’s awesome!”

“I spent an extended period of time in South Asia exploring culture and spirituality and have a strong background in mindfulness practice. This informs all of my work and is a part of who I am. And I still REALLY like to have fun!”

Tracy DiMarco

Program Manager

Welland, ON

“My son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 in 2006, at age 3. We struggled alone for years, not having others to turn to for support, motivation, and understanding. In 2012, we met Chris Jarvis at a speaking engagement, where he spoke about his experiences overcoming obstacles and living well with T1. A week later we attended our first ICD event, and we haven’t looked back! Our family has participated in dozens of ICD events, from paddling, parkour, skiing, to snow tubing, and have learned so much. I volunteered with ICD to plan events in Niagara and now I’m working with ICD to plan events in every region we can reach!”

“My favourite thing about ICD has to be how the leaders have helped my son to be the best he can be. He has taken part in leadership retreats and loves to volunteer his time to help out and is beginning to mentor younger T1s. Chris and the team have an amazing, positive way of connecting to youth (and adults) and encouraging them to keep going when diabetes gets them down.”

“I founded a family support group in Niagara a few years ago. It started as a handful of families who wanted to share tips & trials and ensure our kids knew others going through the same things they were, and it has since grown to a group of 200 individuals. We strive to keep those close connections and have each other’s backs in case of illness or late supply deliveries. For me connection is what it’s all about. I hope to connect even more families in my role at I Challenge Diabetes :)”

Lisa Geelen

Chair, Kids In School Initiative

Toronto, ON

“My 12 year daughter was diagnosed at age 4 with type one diabetes. She was in her first year of kindergarten at that time. As parents it was a very scary time for us. We had to learn about diabetes, learn how to care for our child, then we had to head to school and train the staff. Eight years later we are trying to help others.”

“I am sure my T1D daughter would say playing sports at the York Diabetes Summer Sports camp, strategizing with team mates, and “the taking down” of Olympian Chris Jarvis during an intense game of dodgeball. However, my favourite thing about ICD is the “roll up the sleeves” approach. We attack challenges at the ground level and do our best to remove obstacles in a very positive way, while fostering the approach of a united front. We connect people, impact lives, and we will often find ourselves saying ‘how can I help?'”

“Some of you with T1D may have had the experience of being let down by a system. This may have driven me a little crazy and I ended up creating awareness tools and personally visiting local schools, daycares, and child drop-in centres to bring awareness of T1D. I chatted with parents, teachers, and childcare workers to educate them on Type One, including the onset. I personally visited 1500 people in Toronto during the month of November, 2016!

It was even more fun to supercharge that initiative with a team of inspirational speakers, all of whom have T1D. This resulted in me becoming the chair of the Kids in School Action Planning Committee, which led to system-wide policy change. Policy change never sounds fun… but when it means your child’s safety is considered in daily operations, it allows you to enjoy all the fun things again!”


Elizabeth Harvey


“I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 12 years ago and have been working and volunteering in the diabetes community for the last 7 years.”

“My favourite thing about ICD is the unique perspective on diabetes.


Diabetes – much like all problems in health – is multi faceted. There are physiological factors that make the disease complicated to manage but there are also significant socio-economic and psycho-social barriers. ICD truly works to break down those barriers so that everyone has the opportunity to learn and thrive while living with type 1.

ICD meets people where they’re at and builds self-efficacy and community! The people I’ve met through this organization have become my family. Through ICD I’ve met people who inspire me and push me to do better, people who make me laugh, and people who allow me to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my journey. It’s a great feeling to know I have people I can text who just get it!

My biggest passions in life are health, helping people, and adventure, and I think ICD is an amazing combination of all three.”

“1. I love trail running.
2. Myers Briggs says I’m an INTJ (if you believe in that sort of thing).
3. Burritos are the world’s most perfect food.”

Davis Jamieson

Outdoor Adventure Team Lead

Moncton, NB

“I have had diabetes for 10 years and have been working with ICD for two summers.”

“I think everything about ICD is incredible but my favourite thing is the sense of family and community that the team creates within an event or group of people.”

“I love racing mountain bikes, photography, and adventuring!”

Matt Swain

Diabuddies Speaker and Mentor

Toronto, ON

“Yes! I have had T1D for 11 years, and my wife also lives with T1.”

“ICD is different from other “cure” focused organizations: it has an emphasis on showing participants how they can set themselves up for success on the sports field as well as in the classroom. As someone who came through the public school system with diabetes, I find myself wishing Diabuddies had existed for me! My favourite thing about ICD is our hands on approach to these problems, and the inspiring mentors we have in place to make these impacts.”

“In summer 2017 I rode my bicycle across the United States, roughly 4200 miles, with Beyond Type 1 (a US based non-profit)! The trip took 10 weeks and was truly life changing for all 20 riders, including myself. I learned a lot about perseverance, teamwork, and the value of having a community approach to T1D, which I’m proud to say are things ICD also embodies in our routine programming!”

Geoff Thornton-Trump

Logistics support leader

Canmore, AB

“I have been Type 1 for 41 years and using different pumps for 11 years.”

“ICD is very important for its role and focus on getting kids and young adults involved.  Very needed and important!”

“When I was diagnosed at age 9, I was told that I would more than likely be blind by the age of 30. I am now 50 and still have 20/20 vision.  I’ve always tried my best to beat the odds!”

Heather van der Geest

Volunteer Leader

Victoria, BC

“I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 8 years old. I told my parents from the very first day that I was not going to let diabetes stop me from doing anything, and I was going to live a long and healthy life. I said, “I am going to control diabetes, not let diabetes control me”. I have maintained that attitude for the past 23 years so far, and I am still complication free, doing everything in life I want to do.

There are definitely times when diabetes can make life more challenging, but it is important to take it one step at a time, and manage the best you can!

I connected with Chris Jarvis (ICD co-founder) to establish a peer-mentoring network, which was the first ICD group program, as well as the first ever At-Risk Youth program in Canada. I continue to volunteer for ICD while attending medical school.”

“Giving people with diabetes the opportunity to meet and connect with others that are living with the same condition. It is a great way for people to share their success, challenges, and to build new friendships.

When living with a health condition, it is so important to have a support network of people that you can relate to. We are all in this together and helping each other every step of the way!”

“I recently graduated from Naturopathic Medical School and started my Naturopathic Practice in Vancouver, BC (June 2018).

I rowed on the Canadian Junior National Rowing Team in 2003, and was the Captain of the UVic Varsity Rowing Team from 2004-2009.”

Chris Chesham


Canmore, AB

“Yes, I was diagnosed in 2002 and have been an active outdoor enthusiast since. I have been helping out with ICD since 2006 when I first got involved in a hiking program in Alberta.”

“The support that every member gives to each other and to all the participants is great! I have also enjoyed many of the adventure activities, the opportunity to meet new people, and traveling to new parts of Canada.”

“I have always loved the outdoors and continue to enjoy them as much as possible. I have slept outside in -35 temperatures and managed to still remain warm.”



Dessi Zaharieva


Mississauga, ON

“I was diagnosed with T1D at age 7. My family moved to Canada from Sofia, Bulgaria when I was 4 years old, so my diagnosis came as a big shock to us. Currently, I am a researcher (PhD candidate) at York University. My research focuses on various strategies to improve blood glucose control during exercise, sports, and competition in type 1 diabetes. 

My research interests include: exercise physiology, blood glucose fluctuations, artificial pancreas design, continuous glucose monitoring, hypoglycemia prevention, and overall diabetes management.

My ultimate goal is to help people of all ages living with type 1 diabetes to be more physically active and improve their diabetes self-care.”

“ICD is a unique organization that reaches individuals of all ages; not only those living with T1D, but parents, friends, and anyone touched by this disease. It incorporates incredible, active educational programming to promote leadership and team building skills. At ICD, we are not just friends, we are a family and a group of individuals pushing the boundaries of T1D and active living. Living with T1D, we all experience frustrations but with ICD, we have open and educational discussions to find ways to overcome these difficulties. You are not alone!”

“I speak Bulgarian, I’m an MMA fighter, and I’m competitive :)”


Erika Arff


Peterborough, ON

“I have been a type 1 diabetic since the age of 8. Growing up, T1D management was never really a priority to me and I probably did a lot of harm to my body by not caring about my disease. As time went on, I met more people living with type 1 and I saw that there was more to life than being tied down to your Diabetes. Now, I have a much better relationship with my body and take steps towards living the healthiest and happiest life I can.”

“I love how they always let you know that they are there for you. I go months without talking to anyone there and then I’ll hear from them for a position or to see how I’m doing and they are always so kind and have your back. They pick up where you left off- no matter how long it’s been or how far away you’re living.”

“I’m pretty open on my social media platforms so I feel like everyone knows everything about me (haha!) but I’ve just recently started sharing my secret talent of jump rope with the world. It’s good; people never expected me to be that much of a jump rope star!”



©2020 I Challenge Diabetes. All rights reserved. Charitable Registration Number: 821102712RR0001


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