Laura Sabourin (Image courtesy of Laura Sabourin)Laura Sabourin (Image courtesy of Laura Sabourin)

Local woman opens New York stock market on World Diabetes Day

Laura Sabourin was one of a group who rang the NASDAQ bell on November 14, to start the trading day.

"It was amazing and exhilarating," she said of New York's stock exchange. "We got to be part of the real-time TV taping and ring the bell to start that trading day. We were live on TV. We even got to meet singer, Patti Labelle, and Australian model Bambi Northwood-Blyth," she added.

The reason Sabourin was there is because she's a Dexcom Warrior.

"Being a Warrior is someone who uses a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) system to help manage their diabetes," Sabourin explained.

She is one of about 500 Canadian Dexcom Warriors and one of only two Canadians who were invited to take part in a campaign called #SeeDiabetes.

The group involved in the campaign was invited to New York in October for a photo shoot, they then returned to the Big Apple on World Diabetes Day in November to ring the NASDAQ bell.

"We rang the bell and then saw the unveiling of the photo shoot in real-time as we walked out and got to watch this video show in front of us in the middle of Times Square," Sabourin said. She described seeing her face on a giant billboard in Times Square as surreal and emotional.

"I've battled this disease for over 45 years and to see these beautiful photos of me living a life so healthy and positive, at this stage in life, I didn’t think it was possible. I cried happy tears. I thought about me, my family, my parents, and everything that we had gone through to get to this point. I was speechless and very grateful to be part of an experience like this," she said.

Sabourin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 2 1/2 years old and said she can't remember life before it.

"Type 1 diabetes made me the person I am today," she said.

She said that living with the disease is time-consuming, tiring, and challenging, but she also attributes her positivity, strength, and perseverance to it.

Sabourin explained that a person living with diabetes can never, ever take a break, "everything in a diabetic's life affects their blood sugar. Exercise, food, beverages, menstruation, stress, illness..."

She said that she used to feel shame and guilt when her glucose would go too low. "You go low, then you treat (eat the entire kitchen), and then your glucose level inevitably goes too high, and then you feel terrible, too, but in a different way. It is a terrible cycle that is both physically and emotionally draining," she added that it didn't just affect her, but her friends and family as well.

New technology has changed all of that. Sabourin said that the combination of her insulin pump and Dexcom's CGM system lets her know what her blood glucose levels are at all times allowing her to prevent any major lows. She noted that the two devices are her portable pancreas.

As a Dexcom Warrior, Sabourin strives to help others in the diabetes community. This includes participating in the #SeeDiabetes campaign and speaking engagements.

"Something I want people to know about living with diabetes is that even though you have this disease, you can still be who you want to be and do anything you want to do," Sabourin said. "Diabetes hasn't stopped me from doing one thing in my life."

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