Success Stories

Triathlete fights diabetes

Matthew Schoenherr

Grand Valley Triathlon Club member Matthew Schoenherr keeps up a rigorous training schedule. But, in the midst of his long workouts, Schoenherr needs to keep an eye on his blood sugar to keep his type 1 diabetes in check.

Schoenherr, a biomedical sciences major at Grand Valley State University, doesn't remember what life was like without multiple daily blood sugar checks or constant infusions of insulin. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4 — a disease which also has afflicted his father, aunt and uncle. Now 20, Schoenherr is grateful for the advancements made in the treatment of diabetes that allow him to participate in almost all the activities he wants to. He said he’s considering pursuing a career in physical therapy or medicine to help other people with diabetes.

Schoenherr is an active supporter of the American Diabetes Association, and he has recruited members of the Grand Valley Triathlon Club for fundraising activities — including a 100-mile cycling event. Schoenherr and his family were named the 2009 Ambassador Family for the American Diabetes Association’s “StepOut Walk to Fight Diabetes” event in Detroit.

Schoenherr has been involved with the ADA since he was born. He often served as a team captain and won top fundraising honors in several ADA events, including “America’s Walk for Diabetes” and “School Walk for Diabetes”. 

A native of the Detroit suburb of Clinton Township, Schoenherr has been athletic most of his life. He played football alongside Grand Valley running back Jimmy Berezik at De La Salle Collegiate High School, advancing to the 2006 state championship game. Whenever he’s competing, though, Schoenherr has to keep an eye on his glucose levels. “I’ve learned a lot about how my body reacts to exercise,” he said.

Schoenherr's entire family is involved in the American Diabetes Association. His father, Andy, serves on the Southeast Michigan Leadership Board of Trustees for the ADA. His mom, Ann Marie, is a registered nurse and a certified diabetes educator at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. His brothers are participating in a diabetes prevention trial.

by Brian J. Bowe

This story was filed with the tags: Helping the Community, Undergraduate Student