For the third year running, an international team aims to demonstrate a positive attitude to type 1 diabetes (T1D) on a challenging expedition to the White Mountains, Crete, over 2,000m above sea level. 2013 and 2014 saw two previous groups take control of their diabetes and successfully trek to Mount Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu.

This year, the team will be solely composed of young people with T1D aged 15–20 years old, hailing from 8 European countries, Brazil, Canada and India. The expedition will show the global T1D community that by striving for control of their diabetes, people can dare to dream. The team aim to act as role models to other young people with T1D around the world and empower them to take control of their disease.

To support the T1D YOUTH Challenge to the White Mountains in Crete, Sanofi Diabetes has joined forces with expedition organizers SWEET e.V and the World Diabetes Tour, to raise awareness and give hope to other young people with T1D so they can go beyond their diabetes to make the most of each opportunity.

SWEET e.V. is an international network of Centers of Reference for paediatric diabetes care, supported by Sanofi for several years. Established in 2006, SWEET’s main objective is to enhance the health and quality of life of children and young people affected by diabetes in Europe, by improving secondary prevention, aiding early diagnosis and helping effective management of the condition. SWEET e.V addresses these by stimulating the exchange of information and good practice, developing education and recommendations for standards of best care, and supporting the establishment of Centers of Reference for Pediatric Diabetes. The World Diabetes Tour is a patient association which promotes a positive attitude about T1D and seeks to help people with T1D and raise awareness of the condition.

From August 24, the team of explorers will trek from Chora Sfakion, through the Samaria Gorge until they reach the summit of Mount Gingilos (2,080m above sea level) in the White Mountains. The path is extremely rocky and the team will need to ensure they take extra care when trekking through this arduous terrain. They will trek on average 6 hours a day and expect to reach their destination on August 27.

For many of the team, this will be their first trek experience. The safety of the T1D Youth Challenge members during the trek will be assured by a SWEET healthcare team led by Prof. Olga Kordonouri. Also, Delphine Arduini, founder of the World Diabetes Tour, and Peter Nerothin, who founded the organization Insulindependence, will act as mentors, guiding the 11 trekkers through the challenge.

The T1D YOUTH Challenge team want to spread the positive message that even when a challenge is difficult, with the right preparation and good knowledge of the body’s dietary and physical needs, it is possible to strive for control with T1D and open the door to a life full of opportunities.