Name - Dylon Wilson Age - 20 Home town - Hickory, NC
Twitter/Instagram @DylonWilson Website/Store www.Dylonwilson.com
Diagnosis : I was diagnosed in 2009 on my 13th birthday, it’s the typical story as far as leading up to me being diagnosed, I was sick for a couple months, and had all of the symptoms of Type 1 but of course we didn't think that was possible with me being 13 years old, 6 foot tall and only weighing 120 pounds, and having nobody else in my family with the disease. After all I ended up being diagnosed and immediately put in ICU as my blood sugar was over 1000.
So yes for someone with diabetes that part is pretty typical. Luckily though I was diagnosed before things got way worse.
This is where my story gets different though.
I come from North Carolina, which is in the heart of the south and where NASCAR started. My whole family before me raced or worked in NASCAR including my Great grandfather, grandfather and my father himself. I grew up helping my dad as he raced all over the south east winning multiple races and a championship. My time to shine came around the age of 11, thats when I got started racing go-karts, my family wanted me to prove myself before I moved into more competitive racing circuits, so early in my career I didn't get to race much but I wanted to make every lap count, along with racing I played all sports as well so it was even busier than it may sound.
So in 2009 my family and I was ready to make the next step in my career, I was on the verge of moving into bigger, faster, more competitive go-karts at least until I got sick and eventually was diagnosed. I remember being in the hospital asking if I would ever have a shot at racing again and the doctors basically referred me to the fact that you don't see diabetics in the military, or in aviation which includes long periods of time where you wouldn't be able to manage your blood sugar (Racing is in that category), so I guess they really didn't say “no” but I got the point.
My racing career was put on halt for about 2 years until 2011 came and I was tired of sitting in the pits watching others race. I walked in the race shop dusted off my go kart and went to work, my dad was cool with it but you know how moms worry. She knew I could race and knew that I was excelling at managing my blood sugars but seeing her son on a race track for hours at a time and not being able to take insulin / eat / or drink bothered her. So again I had to prove myself, I learned exactly what my levels were going to do over the time of a race we had emergency plans and TONS of equipment just a pit stop away. Eventually diabetes was not much of a worry as we were very confident in our preparation, thats when 2012 came around.
In 2012 I won my 1st go kart race, and then my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on, and after winning my first championship that season my dad decided to sale his dirt late model and move me up to the NASCAR Whelen All-American series in the limited late model division at Hickory Motor Speedway. There was a lot of hype behind it I had several friends and family members waiting a long time to see someone a part of my family get back in to the NASCAR ranks.
2013 for us was a roller coaster ride, especially in the diabetes department. I went from racing open wheel go karts with an open cockpit for 30 laps at about 40 mph to racing full size stock cars for up to 100 laps at more than 100 mph in a cockpit that gets up to 120 degrees in a fire suit, helmet and more safety equipment. So as you may guess my body heat rose and my levels changed rapidly, my BG could be 140 before the race and 300+ after without taking in a single carbohydrate, and sometimes it would do the opposite. so I had to change my ways, I started training and getting my body used to high temperature high performance conditions. I eventually got that figured out but that wasn't all I had to learn, racing stock cars instead of go karts was a whole different animal, the learning curve was huge and after a few wrecks and bad nights we started getting more and more competitive and ended up capping of the season with at the time a career best 3rd place finish.
2014 is what I would call my “Break Out” year on and off the track. In years previous I was very shy about diabetes even denying it at some points as i didn't want any speculation of “what if” my level crashed while racing and I was severely injured, or if I put other drivers at risk (seriously someone said that). This year was going to be different I changed my number from 84 to 1 to honor the disease and started my own foundation called the “Type One Rodeo” which specializes in bringing young T1d’s to the race track to watch how I manage the disease while running 100 mph and the goal is to show them that If I can do it they can too. I also traveled around to hospitals and conventions doing appearances and speaking on how my life is with the disease. So off the track was a vast improvement and on the track was too. I started the year off battling for a win in the very first race only to be wrecked by a fellow competitor, so after that the training and preparation intensified greatly and the very next week (2nd race of the year I won my first career race in a NASCAR division. We went on to win 2 more races at 2 different tracks and was ranked fifth in national power rankings that season. At the end of the year I moved up to late model stock cars (Division 1 NASCAR Whelen all American series).
2015 was another strong year for us as a race team but a even stronger year for me as a person I meet new type one diabetics all the time and its truthfully an honor to be an inspiration to them.
My plans for 2016 is to race at new tracks, and of course win! Along with that keep expanding my foundation to where I can meet more and more T1D’s and continue to raise money for supplies for families in need of support for diabetic equipment but most importantly raise awareness so we see less and less undiagnosed children lose their life to a disease that we all know is manageable. Im also a huge filmography buff I have made several videos over the years and in 2016 I plan getting more out there that focus on T1D.
I look at diabetes as an advantage honestly, i’m able to constantly monitor my body and health where as others are not able to as often. Im looking forward to using Pump Wear it will awesome for me to use underneath my fire suit and in the gym as that is currently a huge struggle for me as I usually have to tuck my pump in my underwear band under my fire suit and that gets extremely uncomfortable as the seat belts push it down into my hip!