In episode 11 of the Gluconfidence Podcast, we interview Jacob Gosk, founder of Dunking for Diabetes Canada. Jacab shares his experience of living with Type 1 Diabetes and playing college basketball. He also shares how he stays focused and positive, while pushing himself to achieve more in basketball and his life. He believes that while his pancreas may have given up, his heart and his mind never will. We hope you enjoy this interview, as we really enjoyed speaking with Jacob.
Jacob is the founder of Dunk for Diabetes, a not-for-profit organization that spreads the word about athletes who have Type-1 diabetes. Jacob is from Ontario, Canada, and has always loved sports and physical activities. He started playing basketball as a child and had dreams to play professionally, but he had to reevaluate his plans when he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in 2016.
Jacob had started experiencing the classic Type-1 diabetes signs and symptoms: frequent urination, loss of weight, always being thirsty, etc. He had thought he had the flu, so he didn’t go and see a doctor. The signs will wear off in time, he had hoped, but the “flu” wasn’t wearing off and he had to go and see a doctor. He spent four weeks in the hospital after his diagnosis. He had just started playing high school basketball when he was diagnosed, so the news of his diagnosis hit him very hard.
As a teenager, the news took Jacob and his parents by surprise. The adjustments that needed to be done, the learning of new diabetes-related information, and the relearning of how to function as a Type-1 diabetic were overwhelming for him, but his parents were able to encourage Jacob to soldier on and keep moving forward.
Type-1 diabetes is a chronic sickness, so Jacob had no other option than to accept his new reality.
Getting accepted into his school’s basketball team was not as easy. There were days when he felt alone and frustrated. He was also careless with his health, allowing youthful exuberance to get the better of him.
But after the death of a coach who truly understood him, Jacob decided to take his health more seriously. It dawned on Jacob that if he didn’t take full responsibility for his health, he’d be the one who would suffer.
Jacob was uncomfortable with the whispers he received in school for being “different.” It was this discomfort that spurred him to start his not-for-profit organization, Dunk for Diabetes, in 2018.
When Jacob received a sport’s scholarship to play and study at John Brown’s college, Jacob decided it was high time he took life seriously.
Throughout his life, there have been a lot of people who told Jacob to quit basketball because he was a Type-1 diabetic. However, Jacob didn’t allow the noise to get to him, shut his mind to the outside noise, and focused on what he wanted for himself: basketball.
Jacob started Dunk for Diabetes as a one-man show, but in the Fall in 2018 he got other people on board and registered the organization.
Dunk for Diabetes is Jacob’s way of building a community for Type-1 diabetics who’re interested in sports, giving them hope.
The mission of Dunk for Diabetes is “Changing The World, One Dunk at a Time.”
Jacob has been able to inspire hundreds of Type-1 diabetics worldwide through his not-for-profit organization.
Jacob’s advise to people living with type-1 diabetes is for them to speak up and be heard.
Jacob would love a world where everyone is educated on what Type-1 diabetes is and how to manage and relate with people living with Type-1 diabetes.
Jacob would also love for insulin and other treatments to be free for people living with Type-1 diabetes. Although he’s grateful for the health insurance package in Canada, he wishes countries like the USA had free and affordable technologies and treatments for Type-1 diabetics.