Stuart Bookatz: The Humanitarian Inspiration We All Need

3/21/18
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Editor’s Note: Stuart Bookatz is riding his bike across the USA starting April 1, 2018. Support Stuart + Beyond Type 1 by giving to his DONATION PAGE. 


After a chance encounter with a neighborhood family that has two T1D children, Stuart decided to use his upcoming cross-country bike ride as an opportunity to educate others about a disease that he himself is just learning about.

Beyond Type 1 is honored to be a beneficiary of Stuart’s ride. We wanted to learn more about his philanthropic adventures and what brought him into the Type 1 diabetes world. He kindly answered a few questions like: what moved you to do this? His answers might just inspire you to do something kind today!

 

BT1: You don’t have a Type 1 Diabetes connection in your family or inner circle. What was it about Type 1 Diabetes and Beyond Type 1 that moved you?

Stuart: I come from a place of complete empathy and compassion. While I don’t personally have any experience with T1D, I was amazed to learn how much is involved in a T1D’s daily life. I had no clue that parents stay up every night to check their kids’ blood sugar and that every ounce of food must be monitored and calculated. I was really moved by my neighbors’ (Samantha and Joey) dedication to their children’s well-being. I felt that it was my duty as a fellow human to do something helpful.

BT1: How have your personal + family challenges with mental health shaped your perspective and desire to help other?

Stuart: As someone who has struggled with mental health issues, I am very grateful for those who have supported me and encouraged me to live my best life. Part of living my best life, is making sure that it is not done in vain. Much like mental illness, T1D can be a “hidden disease,” meaning that on the outside you may appear perfectly well but on the inside you could be struggling or feeling alone and misunderstood. Thankfully I have gotten to a better place in my life but I recognize that there are plenty of others who face personal battles just to get through the day.

BT1: What draws you to long-distance cycling?

Stuart: The challenge of it all really excites me and forces me to stay healthy, train hard and focus. The upcoming ride starts in San Diego and takes me on a 3,000 mile trip to St. Augustine, Florida.

BT1: When does the ride begin?

Stuart: The ride starts April 1, 2018 and will last approximately 46 days.

BT1: Tell us about meeting your neighbors and learning about T1D?

Stuart: It was really very funny. One morning while at my home in Florida (I spend most of my time in London) I heard some kids across the way calling me over to their makeshift lemonade stand where they were selling water and pretzels. Of course I went over to support their endeavor, and while there struck up a conversation with the mom who was telling me how two of her 3 kids have Type 1 diabetes (hence the water and pretzels instead of lemonade and cookies). From there I started to learn more about the disease and was inspired by the courage these kids display day in and day out.

BT1: What would you tell someone who wants to do something to make a difference?

Stuart: I would encourage people to look around and open up their hearts. There are so many opportunities large and small to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives. Charity comes in many forms, and while it may not be for something that affects you personally, the fact we are all human and understand pain and struggles is enough of a commonality to inspire you to help.


Looking for more inspiration, check out our other stories!