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Wasim Akram is a true inspiration on and off the cricket field. The former Pakistani captain was in Dubai last week to promote a great initiative by the Landmark Group – the Beat Diabetes Walkathon. Masala.com met Wasim for a quick chat on fighting diabetes, beating the odds, keeping a positive attitude and even entering Bollywood!
How do you feel being the inspiration to so many people around the world who are suffering from diabetes?
One never knows when diabetes can strike. The warning symptoms like weight loss, excessive thirst and fatigue are generic and often ignored. I was fortunate to have had the support of family and friends who helped me get over the initial shock of being diabetic.
It is humbling to be considered a role model but I must add that like anyone else I too have my good and bad days. Living with diabetes is a challenge.
I guess I am the best example of the fact that diabetes is not related only to one's weight and physical fitness. I discovered that I have Type 1 diabetes at the peak of my cricketing career.
But now I am happy to be able to spread the message and I hope that people will be inspired to take control of the situation.
Did life change for you after realising you were diabetic?
Once diagnosed with diabetes, my life and lifestyle were completely revamped. It became an utmost necessity to cut down on unhealthy food and to exercise much more regularly and systematically than before. There was also the added issue of taking insulin supplements routinely.
It was a shock when first confronted with a life of so many 'dos and don'ts', but then I realised that it's only a matter of adjusting to a healthier lifestyle.
What is your fitness regimen like?
My fitness regime isn't very intense or impressive – it is a very balanced approach, with a mix of cardiovascular exercises and weight-training. Being diagnosed with diabetes has made me more disciplined towards my workouts. I try my best to live well, eat healthy, get ample rest and stay active.
Can you tell us a little about your association with the cause?
In the second year of the Beat Diabetes Walk in 2010, the Landmark Group invited me to join the walkathon in Dubai and support them in spreading awareness about the disease. Being a diabetic myself, I related to the cause at a personal level and participated in the walk which is why I joined them again this year.
Diabetes awareness is extremely essential and I would urge everyone to participate and be a part of the cause and take at least an annual blood glucose test, to keep a check on their glucose levels. Early detection definitely helps in taking control of this condition better.
You have your finger in many pies and have even had your brush with glamour with television shows. Have you ever thought of doing a film?
Bollywood is very glamourous and we all love our Hindi movies. I haven't actually thought about it and honestly don't see myself on screen!