Like most people not directly affected by diabetes, Ian Brohm didn’t know what a bolus was or what beta cells do.
Then he met Kelsey Payne.
Payne was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — wherein the pancreas produces little or no insulin — when she was just 6 years old. When the pair connected at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and started dating, Brohm saw firsthand what is required to manage the condition.
“Those little things you don’t really think about if you’re not dealing with it, and everything that we take for granted, she can’t,” he explained. Snacks and insulin must be on hand at all times; needle pricks are a regular necessity. “She has to test her blood sugar levels before and after exercising, because she could go high or low all the sudden.”
Diabetes is a serious health issue; however, when it’s properly handled, people like Payne can enjoy happy, active lives. Joslin Diabetes Center has been delivering world-renowned research and care for those struggling with diabetes for more than 120 years. Payne has been a patient there since her diagnosis.
“Joslin has helped Kelsey and her family, and many others like them, navigate the unknown path that comes with the life-changing diagnosis of diabetes,” Brohm said.
So Brohm decided to run the 2023 Boston Marathon with Team Joslin for Joslin Diabetes Center (givengain.com/ap/ian-brohm-raising-funds-for-joslin-diabetes-center-beth-israel-lahey-health-). It’s his first live, on-site Boston (he participated in the virtual event in 2021) and first fundraising event.
“It isn’t always easy to get selected for a team, so I’m just really fortunate to be running not only on a team, but on one that means so much to me,” he said.
A 2010 graduate of Hopkinton High School, Brohm ran track and played soccer in high school and in college. He continues to stay active, whether in the gym, running, biking or hiking.
Even so, he acknowledged that training for a marathon has been “intense.” He runs several days a week and already had completed 8 miles by time he conducted this interview at 10 a.m. on a Saturday.
“[Beth Israel Lahey Health] sent out a training program that’s about 20 weeks long, so I’ve been following that,” he said, and was quick to note that Payne supports him as much as he supports her.
“She’s there pushing me through every challenge,” he emphasized, adding that Payne is “a huge inspiration” to him.
“She never complains about diabetes, and she does a great job of managing it. I’ve got the easy part, running 26.2 miles in April; she deals with this day in and day out.”
Brohm wants to help fund research and treatment not only for Payne but for the hundreds of millions who are affected by diabetes and continue to wait for a cure.
“I think I’m more anxious about the fundraising than the training, to be honest,” he shared. “This race is bigger than me — it’s about running for them, all the people around the world who are struggling with this … and I want to raise money and help them as much as I can.”