Climbing has been a family affair for Susan Ramsey RES’97, PhD, and Stephen Scott RES’98, MD, since their children were small.
When their son, Liam, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 7, “we doubled down on the adventure,” says Ramsey, an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior and of medicine (research), because staying active was so important for his health.
Scott, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and an internist with Brown Medicine, felt unprepared for the realities of living with the disease. In medical school “you learn the nuts and bolts,” he says, “but the day-to-day minutiae, I had no clue.”
It’s not only demanding, it’s “isolating,” Ramsey adds; just 4.1 percent of Americans with diabetes have type 1. To bring families together while sharing their love of climbing, the couple founded Rock Type 1, which organizes indoor climbing events across New England and, once a year, an outing in the White Mountains.
“We hear all the time, I met someone (with type 1) who lives in our town,” Ramsey says of their events.
“It’s an invisible disease,” Scott adds. “You look at the parents of type 1s, and it’s this look of understanding, that you get what they’re going through.”