Live. Work. Play: Dave’s Diabetes Story

By American Diabetes Association

Working for the American Diabetes Association® means making a difference for millions of people and working toward a future free of diabetes and all its burdens.

We all have a story to share. Some of us live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or prediabetes. Others have loved ones with the disease or have lost someone to the fight.

The following are personal stories from the Association’s staff about why we are so committed to the mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Dave Nevins
Market Manager
Tucson, Arizona

Life took a huge detour 39 years ago when I walked out of the Virginia Mason Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle. I carried with me a bag of literature on diabetes, some new experience injecting an orange with water and a feeling that normal was now just a word situated in the middle of the dictionary. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been very fond of that word.

Although this detour has thrown some challenges my way, it has also helped shape me into a healthier Dave, a person with an adventurous spirit who can better empathize with others living with chronic diseases. Indeed, it has led me down some very cool paths.

Because of diabetes, I see my life as precious—one that I choose to live fully. I also try to encourage and inspire those around me to do the same.

I first connected with the American Diabetes Association as a young teenager when I journeyed with the Seattle office and other teens to Glacier National Park in Montana. This was a backpack trip to Granite Park Chalet that included beautiful scenery and a feeling of normality among others living with diabetes, but with a dose of adventure. Through this experience, the Association helped lay that foundation of adventure in me.

In 2005, years after the national park trip, I crossed paths again with the Association at their Border to Border Against Diabetes Tour. This was a bicycle trip that a group of my friends and I took from the Arizona/Utah border to the Utah/Idaho border. After finishing we attended the Association’s EXPO in Salt Lake City, where we shared our cycling adventure story.

I then reconnected with the Association at a 5K/10K ocean swim that I organized in Alaska. They were extremely helpful with logistical planning and Janel Wright, JD, former chair of the national board of directors, spoke one year at the event. I’ve always loved planning and running events for great causes.

Today I am known for bungee jumping, trail running, kayaking, sky diving, hiking, photography, filmmaking and even a base jump. And the adventures keep coming!

I wanted an extra dose of motivation to complete another marathon, kick up my training and focus even more on my health. I am currently signed up for an ultra-marathon in Tucson. I’m also creating a type 1 team for a 24-hour mountain bike race; we plan to make a film to share our experience. I build my life around challenges, and this run and bike race will give me two major challenges. There is even a possible bungee jump near the Grand Canyon in my future!

Because of diabetes, I have chosen to live my life in the healthy zone—which requires extra work, extra sweat on my brow and extra veggies on my plate. The result? I’ve reached a new level of fitness, experienced adventure that most people haven’t even dreamed of and earned some pretty cool t-shirts along the way.

In November 2015, things really came full-circle for me when I was hired to manage the Association’s Tucson office. Now I can more fully realize my passion to be more involved with diabetes through event planning and to encourage and inspire those around me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be on the team.

I’m chasing dreams and taking on challenges! Are you chasing yours?

To learn more about nationwide employment opportunities and life at the Association, please visit


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