All of us have dates that are important to us for one reason or another, where moments are captured in time and burned into our memories.
One date however stands out above many of these others – July 7 1995 – the day my then six year old sister was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. On this day we cut short a visit to a family members pool to bring Claire to the pediatrician, then there were blood tests, and waiting – my brother and sisters weren’t quite sure what was happening. I recall my mom feverishly finishing up the event cards necessary for the swim meet she was to coach that evening, handing them to an assistant coach, and rushing off to the hospital for a day, or two, or… we didn’t know. That was one day, but for Claire and my family it was the beginning of a journey that is now 18 years long and counting.
Along the path of that journey I remember other dates, including preparing for and riding in an American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure in Rhode Island, learning how to give shots of insulin and prick our fingers to check blood glucose. I remember forming a team, Team Imagine, to ride in a second Tour de Cure. I remember nervously asking my high school to donate money to the cause over the loud speaker in home room my freshman year. I also remember the times when Claire would have a hypoglycemic attack and rushing around the house calling 9-1-1 and, in my fear and confusion, not knowing if my littlest sister would be alive the next day.
The thing is, these experiences are not unlike those that many families across the US have experienced. There are currently 26 million diagnosed cases of diabetes in the US. Let me say that number again, 26 MILLION, nearly 1 in 10 people. But you wouldn’t know that walking down the street. Yes, diabetes does have outwardly visible symptoms or impacts on people, particularly those who don’t or can’t manage their care properly, by for the most part you wouldn’t know that the person standing next to you is impacted.
But they are, whether it is finger pricks, managing food intake, setting your insulin pump, regulating strenuous physical activity, planning for pregnancy, or a host of other things. Just because these activities take place behind the scenes doesn’t make them any less impactful to those with diabetes – or their families. It is a continuous struggle – but it is one that I firmly believe we can change, that we can fight, and that we can win. I would like for it to be easier for everyone to manage their diabetes, but I would love to make it so that there is nothing left to manage.
So that is why there is a second date that is very important to me. September 27, 2014. The date that we launch the inaugural Washington DC Tour de Cure America’s Ride to Stop Diabetes.
But I’m not riding in the event. Instead I have been volunteering for the past 6 months, and will continue to volunteer to organize this inaugural ride. I am the Route and Logistics Committee Chair – tasked with planning the route, organizing motivational signs, setting up some amazing rest stops, and making sure that riders have a wonderful experience on the road. It has been a big time commitment, and one that will grow as the event approaches. Together with my team of dedicated ADA staff and volunteers, we are building this event from the ground up – and we want it to be big. Well over a half-million dollars raised, many hundreds of riders, and lots of fun.
So, on this #givingtuesday, I’m asking you to help me in one of three ways.
Contribute to my Fundraising:
I may not be riding the DC event – but I will ride 100 miles in the nearby Virginia event earlier in the summer of 2014. All of us committee chairs have agreed that we need to be at the DC event making sure the day runs smoothly – so instead we will ride the Virginia event. I’ve already put some of my own cash into the pot to kick things off, and my goal is a modest $250 – but I would love to add an extra zero to that thanks to my friends and family. My donation page is here: Donate
Ride in DC:
Lets reboot Team Imagine in 2014, with the same goal as we had 15+ years ago – imagine a world where diabetes does not exist, and work towards that end. Sign up to ride and fund raise in the event, become part of Team Imagine, and enjoy a beautiful and scenic ride through the streets of Washington DC and Maryland. I promise, the routes (10, 33 and 50 miles) are awesome – I designed them! Sign Up Here
Whether you can commit to helping on one of our event committees, or for a few hours on the day of the event, or simply spreading this post around. Anything is greatly appreciated. If you want more details, Email me!