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Maryland diabetic stops in Western Pa. during coast-to-coast run to raise awareness

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 12:06 a.m.

A Maryland man is running across the nation to raise awareness of the importance of exercise for people with diabetes, and he's offering himself as living proof of the difference it can make.

Doug Masiuk, 38, of Annapolis was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 3 and managed his condition for about 30 years with a carefully chosen diet and insulin. He took up running about five years ago, and he has noticed a major decline in his need for insulin injections to regulate his blood sugar levels.

“If I wanted to make it to 80 years old, I realized I'd have to make exercise a bigger part of my life,” Masiuk said. “The more you run, the less insulin you need. ... With the volume I am running, I'm on a quarter of the insulin I'd normally require to stay healthy.”

Since May, Masiuk has been running from San Francisco to New York in an effort to be the first diabetic among the hundreds who have jogged from coast to coast.

He's running legs of 15 to 30 miles per day and stopping at schools, hospitals, hotels, diners and roadsides across America to share his story and hear other people's experience with the disease.

“Everybody knows someone with diabetes,” Musiak said.

This weekend, Musiak met with students from Plum High School, including several diabetics, who were amazed that someone with their condition could accomplish such a feat.

Musiak plans to head through Sewickley and Brighton Heights on Monday, cut through the North Hills toward Sharpsburg and Harmar, then speak to students in the Avonworth School District.

He plans to end his journey on Dec. 23 at Coney Island in New York City.

Masiuk has a blog and updates on his journey at 1run.org.

“When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11, I was pretty devastated,” said Shelly Cosmides, 52, who hosted Masiuk on Sunday evening in her home in Moon.

“My sister has had it for 40 years, and I've seen what it's done to her health. ... I can't imagine having type 1 diabetes and running like that.”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-380-5625or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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