Phil Southerland has guts.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven months, this competitive cyclist has never let anything stand in the way of his dreams and goals: not the competition, not a troubled childhood, not a leg injury, and certainly not a broken pancreas. He's living out his life with perseverance and panache.

Phil Southerland is best known as the CEO of Team Type 1, the world's first diabetic cycling team which rode to victory in the grueling Race Across America for the fourth time last summer. Team Type 1 is actually a collection of several teams, including a professional team with a mix of PWDs and non-PWDs, and two PWD-only teams, one for people with type 1 and one for people with type 2.

His new book, Not Dead Yet, is the story of how Phil Southerland got there. Although heavily invested in explaining the intricacies of dealing with diabetes as an athlete, the book covers more than just diabetes. Phil takes the reader on a journey through his childhood, his adolescence and discovery of the power of fitness, through college and developing passion for cycling and into his twenties, when the dream of Team Type 1 became a reality.

"While I will probably never be able to say that I'm diabetes-free or that I beat type 1, I am living proof that diabetes can be beaten into submission, which is what I'm doing every day of my life, and what I try to show others how to do," Phil writes.

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Phil shares how diabetes and his fears, particularly going blind, motivates his commitment to managing diabetes, and how overcoming diabetes influenced his rise in the cycling community. But he doesn't spend too much time on the nitty-gritty details of particular BG management tactics. He embraces the bigger issues: how managing diabetes affects overall athletic ability, coping with the stress of the numbers, dealing with insurance and premiums and work, and the mental challenges of living with a chronic illness. And of course, how to deal with the pressure of being a very well-known diabetic athlete while just trying to get by.

And it wasn't easy. Phil shares several stories in which his cycling dropped his blood sugars dangerously low, and he had to rely on his support system — his fellow riders — to help him out. This is an important message throughout Phil's life, both in diabetes and in cycling: have good people by your side.

The most important person in Phil's life? His mom. Awww. Phil writes such heartwarming things about his mother, who raised Phil and his brother as a single mom. It really made me appreciate my own parents and other moms and dads who work tirelessly to make sure their kids have the best chance at the best life. We don't do this ride called Life alone, and we need to appreciate the folks who have our backs!

Phil's life isn't perfect. It's crazy and chaotic, just like managing diabetes. There have been crowning victories, and painful setbacks, like his leg injury that ended his cycling career. (He doesn't compete on the bike himself anymore.) Through it all, he keeps chugging along.

Phil now successfully manages Team Type 1, wrote this book, and encourages and motivates people with diabetes all over the world through his efforts and speaking engagements.

I think that's one of the things I liked most about reading Phil's book. Although he had the maturity and fortitude to realize that his health is his No. 1 priority early on in life, he has had to work very hard to get where he is. He continues to work hard to achieve his goals, no matter what gets in his way.

We give this book two thumbs up! Or two legs pumping, as it were.

{Thomas Dunne Books, May 2011, $16.62 on Amazon}

 

 

And now for our contribution...

We are giving away a copy of Not Dead Yet autographed by Phil Southerland! Pretty cool, huh? If you're interested in winning this free autographed copy, it's as easy as leaving a comment!

Here's how it works:

1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in the comment (beginning, end, in parenthesis, in bold, whatever). That will let us know that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. You can still leave a comment without entering, but if you want to be considered to win the book, please remember to include "DMBooks."

2. This week, you have until Friday, May 6, at noon PST to enter.

3. The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on Monday, May 9, so make sure you're following us! We will also contact the winner personally by email, so a valid email address is required.

4. The contest is open to anyone on the planet. Good luck!

 

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.