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12-year-old diabetic who cycled around nation to star in Roche TV commercial

A 12 year-old girl with diabetes who accomplished her dream of cycling around Taiwan in 12 days will appear in a new commercial to promote blood sugar monitoring awareness, medical equipment maker Roche Taiwan announced yesterday.

Type 1 diabetes sufferer Chu Pei-chen (朱珮辰) cycled 1,300 kilometers around the island with her father and older brother in July, 2011. Roche Taiwan documented the entire trip and invited Chu to appear in a new blood sugar monitor commercial.

Chu said that she had always wanted to cycle around Taiwan and was determined not to let her diabetes stop her.

“Of course I felt tired and lonely sometimes during the trip, but I was also excited that I was on my way to reach my dream.”

The trio set off on July 2 last year from their home in Taitung County's Beinan Township (卑南鄉).

“The most difficult part of the trip was to cycle on South-Link Highway because there were many trucks on the narrow road.”

Chu yesterday showed off her bike, decorated with messages of support like “Yes, I can.”

“I am very thankful for everyone who helped me or encouraged me to carry out the dream that I had since I was 8,” she said.

Chu's father said that “When my wife and I first found out about our daughter's disease, we didn't know what to do. However, we decided to be positive about it and stay active, because we believed God gave us a special child so we can be special parents.

“I hope more diabetes patients can do outdoor activities and enjoy their lives like healthy people do. We would like to share our life experiences and encourage other diabetes patients to also write their own life stories.”

Lin Jui-hsiang (林瑞祥), founder of the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators, said “Those with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin internally so their blood sugar levels tend to be too high or too low. However, if the patients monitor their blood sugar levels regularly they have no problem living normal lives.”

Chu agreed. “I even used to be afraid to order meals at fast food restaurants, but I am more confident and brave now. I am now training for a triathlon, which includes swimming, cycling and running. It is the next challenge I want to conquer.”

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Chu Pei-chen rides in the final leg of her 1,300-kilometer round island trek in Taipei, yesterday. The 12-year-old type 1 diabetes patient completed the journey with her father and ...

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