Conquering mountains: How a 22-year-old never let diabetes get the better of him

Eshaan Shevate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. At the time, he was his school’s star swimmer. He was initially hesitant to accept this diagnosis; but now believes that more awareness on diabetes is required among people. He never let his condition hinder his progress and is an inspiration for other youngsters suffering from type 1 diabetes

Eshaan Shevate is the youngest Indian with type 1 diabetes to trek along the Inca Trail in the Andes mountains right up to Machu Picchu, Peru. Apart from mountaineering, he is also an accomplished state level swimming champion.

Shevate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. He was his school’s star swimmer and had passion for hockey and cycling.

Now, Shevate is 22-years-old and he is in his last year of Mechanical Engineering. Recalling about the time when he found out about his diagnosis, he said, “I felt embarrassed and shy to tell to my school teachers and my friends about diabetes. Now looking back, I think that was the wrong attitude. I feel if more people are aware about it, then it would be easier for others to live with it.”

The Punekar had to take four shots of insulin daily after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, that never weakened him. He went ahead to climb mountains. He is also an avid cyclist.

“It was certainly difficult to take four insulin shots in a day, when I was a small kid. I did not understand what the word diabetes meant. Sometimes,it was scary when blood used to come out while taking insulin,” he further recalls.

Shevate thinks that a lot depends on the mentality of a person. He said, “There are three things which people must remember. Firstly, there should not be denial mode, once you are diagnosed with diabetes, accept it. Secondly, you must remember that it is not a disorder but a disease. Thirdly, be friend with diabetes and do not fight with it as if it is your enemy.”

He added, “Regular exercise and monitoring sugar level is the best strategy to tackle diabetes. That is the secret that I have been following. Also, as the incidence of diabetes is so high in our country, the government should come up with affordable medicines for poor people who are diagnosed with diabetes.”

Dr Abhay Mutha, a diabetologist from Pune, who is treating him since his childhood, said, “When he was small, I had told him that if you want to continue your swimming and if you want to eat sweet in your life, you will have to follow all the instructions very punctually. He is the ideal example for all those who are suffering from the same. He not only managed it well, but continued his liking for sports and achieved a great feat by climbing one of the toughest peaks.”

“For all those suffering from Type 1 diabetes, it is a daily fight and those who fight it well, will live a great life,” Mutha added.