We could all use to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes more often, and choosing a cause removed from my own experience has magnified my understanding of the challenges facing others in my community.
I monetize my blog as a fund raising tool for the Canadian Diabetes Association. And then I run half marathons around the world with Team Diabetes.
What inspired you to do what you do?
As a radio host, I had so many opportunities to do charity challenges where checks would be handed out to the winner’s charity. I realized, after a few events, that I didn’t have one I could call my own. I didn’t have anything I could tie my brand to in the same way Bob would say “have your pets spayed or neutered.”
Then, in 2003, I was invited to take part in a Team Diabetes event in Iceland. I loved the experience, and found “my thing.” Ever since then, I’ve been raising money for the Canadian Diabetes Association and running races around the world.
Are there any men (past or present) you particularly admire or who have influenced you?
Harry Flint is a legend in Team Diabetes circles. He’s raised over $100,000 and done dozens of races around the world. He’s a Type 2 diabetic and isn’t shy about saying “Team Diabetes saved my life.” He always seeks out the rookies at our events and asks them “where are you going next?” He’s always seeking out ways to inspire people to not just give once, but to make it a habit. He was winner of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2015, and I couldn’t be more proud.
What advice would you give to other men interested in doing what you do, or otherwise making a difference in their community?
So often we do something because it affects us personally. I don’t have diabetes. It’s not in my family. But I was inspired by the people I’ve met learning about the disease and I’m so committed. From making sure children are treated fairly in school, to dispelling stereotypes about the disease, to challenging people to look after themselves as means of reducing the Type 2 diabetes epidemic, I won’t slow down.
I may not have diabetes, but it affects me. Diabetes is a tremendous burden on our health care systems. If I can keep it out of my life, and inspire others to keep it out of theirs, then our entire economy, not to mention our lifestyle, is better for it.
Are you hoping that your children carry on the work you are doing?
My children joined me last summer on their first Team Diabetes adventure. They ran races in Gold Coast, Australia and I was so proud. I like to think the work they’ve helped with Team Diabetes has inspired each of them to find their own cause. One of my son’s raises money to buy toys for kids to play with before they have surgery at our Children’s Hospital, while my other son helps birds of prey at a rescue center.
What have you learned about yourself as a result of this work?
Giving back is such an easy, small thing that has such huge impact. Each time I ask someone with diabetes about how they manage, I gain empathy. I learn about someone else’s experience and I learn to live outside my own bubble. We could all use to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes more often, and choosing a cause removed from my own experience has magnified my understanding of the challenges facing others in my community.
What’s next for you and the work that you do?
Harry inspired me with his “where are you going next?” question. So I’ll always be looking for another race and another place where I can visit, fly the flag for those living with diabetes, and advocate on their behalf. My next race is the Big 5 Marathon in South Africa in June 2018 with a fund raising goal of $20,000.
Learn more about Buzz Bishop and his work at dadcamp.ca and by following him @dadcamp.