As the leader of a Canadian company focused on improving the health of Canadians, supporting individuals in their pursuit of healthy living continues to be a big source of motivation. We all have different health needs, ability levels, and requirements. What works for me now might not work for you, or might not even work for me in the future.  That’s why Novo Nordisk believes in active living that matches the distinct needs of each individual.

We recently undertook an exciting partnership program that aligned the idea of conquering personal obstacles with our focus to drive change in diabetes management. Through the Driven to Make a Difference contest, we partnered with Diabetes Canada and Breakfast Television Toronto to tell the story of IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, who lives with type 1 diabetes. The contest called for Canadians to submit a story of how they or someone they know faced an obstacle and didn’t let it hold them back—just like how Charlie doesn’t let diabetes slow him down.

As one of the contest judges, I was amazed by the quality and quantity of the entries. People from across Canada shared experiences of persevering through adversity. The winner of the contest, Deanna Paolantonio, shared her story about how she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just after accepting an offer to pursue doctoral studies in dance. While the diagnosis challenged her relationship with her body, she continued to dance, work out, and study. Most inspiring was Deanna’s commitment to being an advocate for others, founding the D-Dance workshop, specifically designed for dancers with type 1 diabetes.

At the end of the day, it’s all about helping individuals live their best life where they are, with the conditions they have and the experience they are living. Partnering with people like Charlie and hearing stories like Deanna’s helps to empower others. They illustrate the tremendous power we have to move past our comfort levels regardless of our condition, fitness level or life experiences and the benefit of integrating activity in our daily lives. So we’ll continue to share these important stories. That’s an inspiration for me and the employees of Novo Nordisk.