KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Among the drivers racing around the Kansas Speedway Friday night for the 2012 ARCA Kansas Lottery 98.9 Race was 19-year-old Ryan Reed.
The teenager from California is one of the youngest competitors; his age isn't what sets him apart.
"When I was 17, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes," Reed said. "They told me I'd never get into a racecar again. I was devastated."
The third generation driver wasn't going to let the disease keep him from his dream.
He takes daily medications including two insulin shots, follows a strict diet and keeps an energy drink in his car during races.
He also wears a special sensor on his stomach that syncs with a wireless blood sugar reader that he slides into a custom made sleeve that sits on his steering wheel.
"It's kind of like another gage," Reed said. "I watch my water temperature, and I watch my blood sugar."
In addition to being a teenage race car driver with diabetes, Reed is an advocate.
Plastered all over his #15 car is JDRF , a leading organization in the fight to cure diabetes.
He's also started his own foundation called Ryan's Mission .
"I want to educate and be an inspiration," Reed said. "You don't have to let diabetes get in the way of your dreams. Don't let the disease beat you. You can beat the disease."
Reeds goal is to one day compete in the Daytona 500. If he reaches his goal, he will be the first diabetic to race at the top level.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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