College of Medicine student Troy Appleton never shies away from a challenge.
Whether he’s working his way through medical school, hoisting 150 kg in a weightlifting competition, or managing his condition as a type 1 diabetic, Appleton takes the challenges in his life in stride.
Thanks to donors, Appleton has also been able to alleviate his financial challenges.
Appleton attended his hometown school, the University of Victoria, to study kinesiology. While studying at UVic, he worked as an intern at the Canadian Sports Centre, where he had the opportunity to train Olympic athletes. Appleton’s aspirations grew as his interests in physiology and pharmacology deepened, which ultimately brought him to the prairies and to study medicine at the U of S. This fall, he will begin his third year in the College of Medicine.
In addition to the financial demands of medical school, Appleton’s diabetes presents costly circumstances. In order to appropriately monitor and treat his condition, Appleton uses an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring. He estimates that diabetes supplies costs him approximately $700 each month, which is not covered through insurance.
This year, Appleton was awarded $5,000 from the College of Medicine Student Awards Fund. This award is one of several awards supported by alumni and donors through the Annual Campaign for Students.
“I’m very grateful for the award. The funding made it less stressful to focus on all of my commitments,” Appleton explained. “Medical school is quite expensive, so getting a big award like this really eases your mind. Between school and training, there’s not much time to earn extra money.”
Appleton acknowledges that without support from the Annual Campaign for Students, his year would involve more sacrifice and difficult decisions. “There are definitely some things I wouldn’t have done without the funding. It’s allowed me to take advantage of opportunities that I otherwise may have passed on,” he said. “For myself, with diabetes, the funding really helps to alleviate some of the financial stress that comes with managing my condition.”
During his internship with the Canadian Sports Centre, Appleton developed a passion for weightlifting. Initially, he wanted to learn how to complete clean-and-jerk and snatch lifts so he could teach athletes how to execute them better. Through the process of instruction, Appleton’s interest in the sport evolved. He has been competing for the last eight years, including performances at the Western Canadian Weightlifting Championships and representing Saskatchewan at the Canadian Senior Weightlifting Championships. His personal bests in competition include 151 kg in the clean and jerk and 117.5 kg in the snatch lift.
Appleton is preparing for his next challenge in his university career, which awaits him this fall. The fast-paced clerkship phase of medical school at the U of S places him in practical scenarios in Royal University Hospital. “I’m really excited about getting into the hospital,” he said. “I have learned a lot in the classroom and am looking forward to putting things into practice, and seeing how things function in a hospital, the clinics, and emergency room.”
While he is still determining which area of medicine he wants to focus on, Appleton has a strong interest in helping those who live with the same condition he does.
“The experience of living with diabetes just gives you such a unique perspective and a bit more credibility with your patients,” he said. “Knowing what they’re dealing with and often having been there yourself really lets you understand the struggles that people with type 1 diabetes deal with on a daily basis. Helping people learn how to manage their condition is definitely something I’m passionate about.”
Over $848,000 was raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries and awards. Read more about how the Annual Campaign for Students made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:
Sean Conroy is a development and alumni communications coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan.