An Open Letter to Ryan Reed – A Champion for People Living with Diabetes

Ryan,

Since 2013, we’ve been proud to sponsor your No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang. Almost every weekend, from February until November, it’s been a delight to see the blur of Lilly Red, the cursive signature of our founder, Col. Eli Lilly, prominently displayed for millions to see during race season. But what this means to our business is only a small part of the story.

So many of us at Lilly know your emotional battle of perseverance – being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 17 years old and told you would never race again. At 19, you were climbing behind the wheel again, racing in the NASCAR circuit. Not only were you fulfilling a lifelong dream of yours, you were setting an inspiring example for the millions across the country who live with diabetes – showing them that it is possible to live life on their terms.

Living with diabetes isn’t easy. Nor is the path to achieving our goals always clear. But I want you to know how proud Lilly Diabetes is to support you, both on and off the track, as you continue on your journey. Your determination, your kindness, your passion and your composure under pressure are the attributes of a champion. Know that you are truly making a difference – whether you’re checking your blood sugar while competing at nearly 200 mph, sharing your personal story on social media, or engaging in one-on-one moments with fans – it’s all part of what makes you exceptional.

Your victory on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway was truly inspiring – congratulations to you and the entire Roush Fenway Racing team on your second win there in just three seasons. Thank you for all you’ve done – and will continue to do – to spread your important message. We’re looking forward to many more opportunities to advocate for people living with diabetes, together.

Mike Mason
Vice President, US, Lilly Diabetes