Former Olympic swimmer advocates for diabetes research with Sanford Health

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Falls swim team had an exciting visitor at the Midco Aquatic Center today.

Former Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Gary Hall Jr. was in Sioux Falls today to learn more about the research Sanford health is doing on Type 1 Diabetes.

Gary’s visit Tuesday combined two of his main passions in life: advocating for Type 1 Diabetes research and swimming.

Gary was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of 1999. Doctors told him that it would be the end of his swimming career.

“That it was impossible to compete at that level with type 1 diabetes. I become the first perps with type 1 diabetes to compete and medal in the Olympic games in any sport and it made that diagnosis a little less scary,” said Gary.

Now, he utilizes his accomplishments to help advance diabetes research with Sanford.

“I have been really fortunate to get involved in the organization. I proudly serve on their international board and oversee their diabetes program. Incredible research going on. It provides me with hope to not give up on managing the diabetes until we find a way to cure or prevent the disease from happening,” he added.

Gary says Sanford’s methodical approach to find a cure-based therapy is what sets Sanford’s efforts apart from other organizations.

“There’s a sincere commitment to ending disease with this organization and that’s pretty neat to see.”

Using opportunities, like today, to reach out to young swimmers is a way for Gary to give back.

“The sport of swimming gave so much to me, opened up so many opportunities and it’s neat to see these kids with their own similar goals and dreams and aspirations. Yeah, to be giving back, it feels good,” said Gary.

Gary said he is looking forward to working with Sanford in the future and hopes to be back this Spring.

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