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Sep 26, 2009

Iron Andy

Andy Holder has always been the type of person to look for a new challenge, but his biggest challenge found him in 2005. He has been an athlete all of his life — playing football, baseball, and wrestling. After college, Andy maintained a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating well and becoming a body builder. Despite being in such great shape, Andy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005 at the age of 36.

A husband and father of two young boys, Andy was initially confused, scared and angry by the diagnosis. But, after researching the disease, he realized this was another challenge he would overcome. Rather than allow diabetes to define him and to control the rest of his life, Andy became determined to do something extraordinary and to prove that no matter what challenges life presents, you can live without limits…Andy decided to become an Ironman triathlete.

Despite the fact that he had never done a triathlon before and didn’t know how to swim, Andy challenged himself to compete in the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, as Ironman competitors swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and complete the event by running a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

Andy faces additional challenges as an athlete with diabetes. He must keep his blood sugar levels in check, which involves careful meal planning, wearing an insulin pump, and testing his blood sugar a dozen times a day — even while running or riding his bike.  Despite these significant obstacles, Andy has persevered, and has now completed three marathons, eight half Ironman and three full Ironman competitions…all in the past three years. 

Andy’s story is about overcoming tremendous odds and rising high above life’s toughest challenges — a message he has delivered to numerous audiences across the country, such as: USC School of Pharmacy, Loma Linda University, Scripps Institute, University of Texas El Paso, Hy-Vee Inc., Home Diagnostics Inc. and Roche Inc., just to name a few.  Andy has also spoken at many elementary schools and diabetes camps across the country.

Andy’s primary responsibility has been to join forces with Diabetes Shoppe®, a program offered by AmerisourceBergen®, as an official spokesperson for the “Managing Diabetes: Living Without Limits” campaign.  He is participating in races and other events nationwide on an inspirational tour to spread his message of encouragement.  His most recent challenge has been to create the Iron Andy Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to provide inspiration, resources, and assistance to individuals and families coping with the daily challenges of a chronic disease like diabetes. To learn more, go to or