LONG BEACH, California -- George “Jorge” Lazenby Jr. got a pretty sweet deal in attending his first Verizon IndyCar Series race. He not only got to see the paddock up close, but also received some life-changing advice in how to deal with Type 1 diabetes from Carlin driver Charlie Kimball.
The 13-year-old son of tennis legend Pam Shriver was a guest of Kimball, driver of the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet who finished 10th in today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“I’m so happy to share it with my son,” said Shriver, who won 21 singles titles and 111 doubles titles in her career. “He’s the typical boy; he loves cars, speed and adrenaline. He has diabetes, too, so he gets to meet Charlie and share experiences on being a Type 1 diabetic.”
Lazenby was diagnosed just over a year ago. Despite the illness, he has followed in his mother’s footsteps, playing tennis and moonlighting in flag football, basketball and soccer. Kimball was diagnosed in 2007 but hasn’t let it deter him from a successful career as a Verizon IndyCar Series driver.
Lazenby said he could use the fellow Californian as an example.
“I think it is a really big honor to meet Charlie because I know he is one of the best race car drivers out there and is a really athletic man,” Lazenby said. “To meet someone that is smart as far as his Type 1 diabetes is really reassuring. It shows me that I can do whatever in my life that I want, even with Type 1 diabetes. He’s given me a lot of information that will help me along.”
Shriver, now an ESPN tennis analyst, enjoyed the experience as well. As her son manages his condition, spending time with Kimball provided a good morale boost.
“For my son to meet someone like Charlie is fantastic,” Shriver said. “I think anyone that has a condition like diabetes, to meet an older person in the diabetes community who is excelling in a profession like this, this is just an important day for him.”
Since being diagnosed, Kimball manages his condition through lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, and by using a glucose monitor while racing. A promoter of diabetes awareness with sponsorship from Novo Nordisk’s Tresiba brand, Kimball was honored to meet Shriver and Lazenby.
“It’s always interesting to me to meet other people with diabetes because everyone’s experience is so unique and so different,” Kimball said. “I’ve always been a tennis fan, so getting to meet his mom is a lot of fun, too.”
Kimball endorses diabetes awareness and treatment through Novo Nordisk’s Race with Insulin campaign. Speaking with fellow diabetics motivates the 33-year-old in and out of the cockpit.
“Sharing my experience with him, encouraging him to continue to do what he wants in life despite or overcoming the challenge of diabetes to me is the true value,” said Kimball, who has one Verizon IndyCar Series win in seven-plus seasons.
“That balance of how I do on the racetrack – even if I have a bad day at the office, being able to look back and think, ‘Maybe if I helped someone or if Jorge’s story helped me’ – that’s true inspiration.”