LINCOLN, N.H. – The O2X Summit Challenge on Loon Mountain this month was more than just a weekend in the mountains for the winners of the Rise Higher Award, the Eddy brothers and their family of Kingston, Mass.
It was an opportunity to prove that they could overcome hardships while inspiring hundreds of other racers to rise higher and conquer challenges both on and off the mountain.
And prove it, they did: Logan, 9, and Jack, 16, were selected from more than 600 athletes for the 2016 O2X Rise Higher Award after completing the challenging 5-mile natural terrain course, that included 1,757 feet of vertical ascent.
The Rise Higher award is given annually at the O2X Summit Challenge to the competitors who best exemplify the spirit of resilience and strength and who inspire others to overcome real-life hardship and pain. Both Eddy boys were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) earlier this year.
“It was not easy for anyone to come to grips with the rapid changes and daily challenges of having two children with T1D,” said Tris Eddy, the boys’ father.
About 40,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) each year, and in 2016 the Eddy family of Kingston, Mass. dealt with the diagnosis not once, but twice. Over the course of several months, first Logan and then Jack were each told that they have T1D. They were confronted with the reality of what that may mean for their lives moving forward.
Rather than let T1D define them, Jack and Logan were determined to Rise Higher and overcome the daily obstacles that come along with the disease. In April when Jack received his T1D diagnosis, he and his father decided to commit to conquering the O2X Summit Challenge as one way to manage their new lives.
Tris though that the race was a “very good example for them, with the theme about overcoming hardships and obstacles to Rise Higher.” And so began the Eddy family’s preparation for the Summit Challenge.
Training for the O2X Summit Challenge meant learning how to manage blood sugar and finding the right balance of nutrition and activity for Jack and Logan. With Jack as a role model who made it clear from the start that he did not want the diagnosis to impact things like family vacations and activities, the Eddy family was able to take a pre-planned trip to the Grand Canyon and both boys attended Camp Joslin, a summer camp geared towards children with Diabetes. All the while they remained active and prepared themselves for the O2X Summit Challenge.
Watching his two sons rise to meet the challenges they faced led Tris to nominate Jack and Logan for the 2016 O2X Rise Higher Award. In his nomination letter for the award, Tris noted proudly that “Despite their diagnosis and need for continuous, vigilant treatment, their strength and courage to help each other overcome has been an inspiration to see.” And that is exactly what the Rise Higher Award represents.
The night before tackling the O2X Summit Challenge course, all participants are invited to camp out and listen to the fireside chat hosted by O2X. This year, before learning they had won the O2X Rise Higher Award, Jack, Logan, and the Eddy family listened to the Fireside Chat that included O2X Human Performance specialist Dr. Maria Urso and O2X athletes Nick Hendrickson and Dan Cnossen.
To Tris and the Eddy boys, one story stood out most – that of Dan Cnossen, who sustained an injury while serving in active duty in the US military in 2009 that resulted in a bilateral leg amputation. Cnossen’s message to the O2Xers at this year’s Summit Challenge was that “after his injury he thought, ‘I can’t quit my injury.’” This resonated with Tris who, upon hearing the story, thought, “With the boys, they can’t quit their diabetes. But, it’s something they can manage.”
After hearing the fireside chat and conquering the Summit Challenge, O2Xers gathered at base camp to watch the awards for top finishers and the presentation of the Rise Higher Award.
“Jack was just shocked to win,” said Tris. “And even days after winning the award Logan has not let go of it, he has been unbelievably happy with it.”
Not only did Jack and Logan inspire their father with their perseverance, but the entire Eddy family became an inspiration to the O2X community, which looks forward to having the Eddy family back next year to continue inspiring others with their positivity, resilience, and strength on and off the mountain.
To learn more about Type 1 Diabetes and to help support research for finding a cure, visit http://www.jdrf.org