Orlando contestant in 'American Ninja Warrior' competes with Type 1 diabetes

'Scariest thing that I've ever done,' Christina Martin says

By Kirstin O’Connor - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - A contestant on the nationally televised obstacle course competition, "American Ninja Warrior," is openly discussing her fight with Type 1 diabetes.

Before the show, Christina Martin was easily recognized at Central Florida ninja warrior gyms, wearing her purple tutu. 

"I've grown up as a dancer, and doing ballet is a style that I've always loved to do," Martin said.

The 23-year-old credits a foundation of strength, both physical and mental, to her dedication to dance.

"When I was diagnosed with Type 1, it felt like a death sentence," Martin said in her audition video for the TV show.

She spoke about feelings of fear, embarrassment and isolation after her diagnosis. 

"You don't want to feel different," Martin said. 

"I realized very quickly that our community, we don't know enough about this disease, and we should be working together."

As a sophomore in high school, Martin started a club that would eventually become a nonprofit organization called The Type Zero Foundation.

"Type Zero represents the day when we can say that diabetes no longer controls any of us, and we're able to walk and say, 'I am Type Zero,'" Martin said.

Martin said, for now, the disease impacts every hour of her day, often interrupting her sleep multiple times per night when she has to check her blood sugar.

Ten years after her diagnosis, Martin took a leap of faith and applied to compete in the world's most notorious obstacle course.

"I decided to apply because I wanted to use that as the ultimate platform to bring more awareness to diabetes," Martin said. "It was very scary, the scariest thing that I've ever done."

She was selected and represented Type 1 diabetes patients across the country. She wanted to bring awareness to the rising costs of insulin and Type Zero's dedication to fighting those costs.  

"People are trying to get it from anywhere they can," she said. "We have a couple members who we've known have taken insulins that aren't even the correct brand just to have something because they can't afford it."

Martin also served as a Type 1 role model at Children's Congress in Washington, D.C., in July and met U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

"It's humbling to be able to serve as an inspiration through my own hard work," Martin said.

To learn more about Martin's mission or her nonprofit, join the Type Zero Facebook group.

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