Ever since he was a little kid, growing up in upstate New York, Steve dreamed of climbing mountains. What his locale lacked in topography he substituted with tree climbing–always imagining myself “way out there” on some epic rock face. His father was an iron worker who built sky scrapers in New York City. Climbing things was a connection they shared even though his dad is still awaiting the day that Steve hangs up my rope and rack in favor of a “real job and a haircut”. Steve was never very motivated and when he could take the easy way out of any type of physical activity, he did.
Then one day, when he was a 16 year-old sophomore in highschool, the option of taking the easy way vanished when Steve became a type 1 diabetic. In a flash he began to realize that the luxury of postponing “life” was an illusion that he could not afford to buy into any longer. He knew that unless he began pushing back hard against the conventional wisdom of what life with diabetes should look like, that he would be trapped in a world of fear, trying to just survive the complications he kept hearing and reading about while living life to the bare minimum.
Climbing is a universal symbol of freedom, personal responsibility and self reliance. Steve embraced climbing fully–not only because he wanted to climb, but because he wanted to show himself that he could take control of his life and that diabetes would NOT limit him. In 2012, after pursuing this way of life for about 14 years, Steve founded LivingVertical and took on Project365 – selling all his “stuff” to live on the road and climb every single day across North America for a year. His hope was to share a message of empowerment with others who live with T1D while revolutionizing the way that the public sees this “invisible” illness.
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