Sebastien Sasseville aims to set example that illness can’t slow people down
It’s not a stretch to refer to Sebastien Sasseville as a world-class athlete. He’s had a career as a triathlete. He’s stood atop Mount Everest. Now he’s going to run across the country, starting with a casual jog across the island of Newfoundland in balmy February.
© — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram
Sebastien Sasseville is a diabetic who is running across Canada to show people that diabetics can accomplish anything. He starts his run
Sunday on Signal Hill.
Sasseville’s life turned into one of extreme fitness after he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 22. He describes himself at that point in his life as being a typical college kid.
“Spending more time at the pub than at the gym,” he laughs.
His lifestyle didn’t cause his disease, though. His type of diabetes is just something you get. Now he needs an insulin pump to live.
“I have to do manually what a healthy body does automatically,” he says.
Instead of looking at it as a hinderance, Sasseville set out to prove to himself — and now all of Canada — that diabetics can do anything they want.
“It’s something that’s pushed me to challenge myself. It’s forced me to become healthier and more active. So in a way it has been a blessing.”
That’s the way he chooses to look at it, he says, but he isn’t naive. He knows it’s not easy to live with diabetes and it’s certainly not cool to have to deal with it.
But his message through his athletic feats, such as running across the country, is that it can be done.
“The message is to inspire people to live their life to the fullest,” he says. “Give them inspiration to follow their dreams and to make it very obvious that obstacles can be overcome with a lot of work.”
Running across the country will allow Sasseville to stop at hundreds of communities and, hopefully, reach thousands of people with his message. His plan is to make 200 kilometres a week, or about five marathons every seven days.
He has somebody driving behind him towing a camper.
“If you thought driving across the country was long, try it at 10 kilometres per hour,” he laughs.
After a year of planning, Sasseville will take his first running steps from Signal Hill on Sunday at about 9:30 a.m. He hopes many people will join him for his first few kilometres and others join him along his journey across the island and country.