Wilson volunteers for Tour
Published 9:49 pm Monday, March 6, 2017
Almost everybody knows Anthony Wilson, and those who don’t have probably seen an ambulance for which he is responsible.
After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012, Wilson worked with the American Diabetes Association to get an ambulance for Medical Transport, where he works, branded with the American Diabetes Association logo. The ambulance also features the logo for the Tour de Cure fundraising ride and includes the slogan “Together We Can Stop Diabetes” and is dedicated to Wilson.
Wilson said the response to the ambulance has been remarkable.
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“I feel like if I can raise awareness to make just one person get tested, I think we’ve done what we set out to do,” he said.
Wilson knows firsthand the importance of getting tested for diabetes.
Before he was diagnosed, he had no history of pre-diabetes, a condition that signals the potential onset of Type 2 diabetes, Wilson said. He went to the doctor every year, and everything seemed fine.
But then, in 2012, he got sick, but thought he just had the flu. After that, he was working out and trying to lose weight and lost about 50 pounds.
“I thought, ‘My metabolism is kicking overtime,’” he said. “Being in EMS for 30 years, it never occurred to me that something was going on. I never thought anything of it.”
One day, his wife shook him awake to tell him she was taking him to the hospital.
“I need to take you, because you just don’t look good,” he recalled her saying. “I remember her walking me down the steps, and that’s the last thing I remember until a day and a half later.”
Wilson’s blood pressure when he arrived at the emergency room was 60/34. His kidneys and pancreas had shut down. His heart was in supraventricular tachycardia, a type of abnormal heart rhythm. His blood sugar was 1,098, about 11 times the normal range.
That was in October. “By Thanksgiving that same year, I wasn’t on insulin anymore, due to my hard work and dedication,” Wilson said.
The following year, Wilson and his family — wife Sheila, son Thomas and daughter Kayla — participated in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk.
“I thought it was a good opportunity for us as a family to be involved,” Wilson said.
They volunteered again in 2014. Eventually, they were asked to chair the walk in 2016 and again for 2017.
Until this year, they had always been out of town during the Tour de Cure bicycle ride that happens each April. But this year, they plan to be involved with the Tour de Cure as well.
“Whatever we can do as a team or a family,” Wilson said. The team is known as “Team Wilson.”
He said he enjoys knowing that the American Diabetes Association-branded ambulance is out there.
“People tell me, ‘I saw your name on the truck and it made me think, “Hey, I need to get tested for diabetes,”’” Wilson said. “That is just remarkable. I’m an advocate for diabetes. I’m a volunteer until I can’t volunteer anymore.”
Wilson said the American Diabetes Association is a great organization with great people.
“I want to thank the American Diabetes Association staff for all they do,” he said.
The 2017 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will take place April 29, beginning and ending at King’s Fork High School. The route options are 10, 25, 65 or 100 miles.
There is a $25 registration fee and a $200 fundraising minimum. The fundraising goal is $450,000; so far about $140,000 has been raised.
Visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour for more information about the fundraiser.