Masiuk said that since graduating from NYU in 2002, he has spent most of the past decade trying to raise awareness and funds for research. While he has never used his degree in film, Masiuk joked, "I've been on the TV quite a bit because of this."

The past seven months have turned Masiuk into what Runners World magazine called "the Forrest Gump of Diabetics." Masiuk is more than happy to spread the message for those with either Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, which is often caused by unhealthy eating and lifestyles.

"More than turn the camera on this [run], I was able to connect with over 100,000 people through over 100 events — media. When we looked at all the numbers, I was probably able to share my [story] with over 3 million people," Masiuk said.

Masiuk's own treatment has changed significantly since he was first diagnosed — the day after Halloween in 1977. For the past two years, Masiuk has used a continual glucose monitor called the Dexcom G-4, which tests his blood-sugar level every five minutes and provides a "window into my level in real time."

Noting that insulin used to be extracted from "cows, sheep and pigs" when he was a child instead of being created synthetically, as it is now, to closely match the insulin produced by the human pancreas, Masiuk said that "the [life] expectancy and potential [for a healthy life] has grown a lot because of those changes."

Before he was diagnosed, Masiuk said, "the technology was there for people to live a long life, but it was going to be hard. Five years before that, they were telling kids and their parents that you were lucky to get 20 years out of life with keeping your feet, without them being amputated, or not going blind."

Asked whether he has had any serious health scares, Masiuk said, "Not as of yet. I don't look at it one way or another. I follow the rules and do the best as I can. But in all probability, my life will be shortened because of this disease. That's just the reality. I just find a way the blades on the saw don't go in deep every day, and I've been allowed to because of the hard work of doctors and scientists and philanthropists and families who have made the lives of diabetics better."

Masiuk, who said that he is the only person in his family to be diagnosed with diabetes, just wants to make sure those who are not genetically predisposed to the disease can avoid it at all cost.

"For the nondiabetics whose bodies can make their insulin internally, they still need to have that balance of diet and exercise," he said. "The goal in this is to avoid getting diabetes and staying healthy. To do so, we've got to take some responsibilities and make good choices. I don't think those choices are a huge responsibility but they will make a big difference in the long run."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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