Max Domi: Hockey Pro and Diabetes Warrior
Patient Perspective At just 24 years old, Max Domi will soon have spent more than half of his life fighting an autoimmune disease that has no cure — all while playing hockey in the NHL.
At just 24 years old, Max Domi will soon have spent more than half of his life fighting an autoimmune disease that has no cure while playing hockey in the NHL. When he was 12 years old, Max was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), joining a community of 300,000+ Canadians living with the same disease.
The now Montreal Canadiens player number 13, 12-year old Max noticed he was suddenly incredibly thirsty and had to go to the bathroom more often than normal. After getting his diagnosis, the first question Max had for his doctor was: “Can I still play hockey?”
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that are responsible for making insulin. The biggest misconception about T1D is that it is preventable. Unlike type 2 diabetes, T1D is not linked to life choices like diet or lack of exercise and anyone can be diagnosed at any age. Because the body cannot produce its own insulin, people living with T1D must supplement with doses of insulin, administered via multiple daily injections or a pump, in order to control their blood glucose levels. There is no way to prevent or cure this disease.
“I never gave up on my dream and I want all kids living with T1D to know they should not let diabetes stop them from making their dreams come true.”
From pricking one’s finger(s) six or more times a day, waking up in the middle of the night to moderate blood sugar and having intense control of diet and exercise; to dealing with a constant fear of dangerous highs and lows as well as long-term health complications, diabetes management is an everyday battle.
“I’ve always needed to be mindful of my type 1 diabetes both on and off the ice,” Max said. “I’ve had to make lifestyle changes in order to balance my career and my diabetes, and no, it has not always been easy. But I never gave up on my dream and I want all kids living with T1D to know they should not let diabetes stop them from making their dreams come true.”
Now, in his second year as JDRF’s National Spokesperson, Max is sharing his story and inspiring young people across the country. “I’m excited to team up with JDRF Canada and the rest of the T1D community to help raise $5 million for the 2019 Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF. We’re closer than ever to finding a cure and we have to keep this momentum going,” Max said. “On Sunday, June 9, 2019 I’ll be walking alongside thousands of JDRF supporters at the Montreal Walk and we need the rest of the community to join us as we walk to support ground-breaking research.”