PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Hiking the Appalachian trail is tough enough already. Throw in Type one Diabetes and now that feat got that much more difficult. Mark Yaeger learned how to manage it but says his insulin pump made life easier and without it he wouldn't have attempted the hike.
A 1996 graduate of Presque Isle High school, Yaeger returns to the County he grew up in. He spoke at the University of Maine at Presque Isle about his hike and the daily challenges he faced. He says that the hardest stretch of the trail was the second 100 miles in Pennsylvania, going through a pair of shoes in just two weeks. His Diabetes also caused him some extra challenges.
"But the challenges you know Insulin needs to be kept cold if you're not using it. There's a challenge I guess. How to renew prescriptions and where to pick things up," says Yaeger.
Mark always kept the idea of hiking the trail in the back of his head. Once he was about to start, he decided to use this opportunity to raise awareness on Type one Diabetes.
He says, "The idea came about from one of my brothers I think initially and he said why don't you put it out on a crowd funding site."
Amanda Baker, the recreation program coordinator at UMPI says, "I don't think mark did a ton of research before he left he figured out what would work and he made it happen and had a little bit of faith."
Baker says that once she heard Mark finished, she asked him to come in to UMPI and talk about his time on the trail.
She says she loves bringing in people who went out on really awesome outdoor adventures so the students get a chance to hear about those experiences.
Yaeger didn't reach his goal, but that won't stop him from contributing once he starts working again.