Riding to Help Find A Cure for Faces Like This One

Sunday, April 3, 2016

If you look around you this week, the weather will not be what you expected to see for the first week of April.  I imagine many of us, despite what the meteorologists told us, woke up this morning to snow and said, "What?!"  April in our minds is maybe rainy, but warmer and sunnier, right? Our expectations of how things should be and how things should look are premeditated in our minds and in our hearts. Built upon our memories, and historical knowledge of how things were or how we understand things should be.
Now do me a favor and look around the room you are in, look at the person sitting next to you, think of the last person you texted or family member you just visited. Now imagine if I were to tell you that one of those individuals has been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.  Maybe you wouldn't believe me.  They look healthy right? They don't look tired, their smile is just as bright, their eyes just as white and full of life and hope. But it's more likely and common than you think. You can't diagnose it from looking at someone and someone that has it likely doesn't talk about it. In many ways, diabetes is a silent disease that controls it's host. Each day is consumed with finger sticks, blood sugar checks, shots of insulin or doses from an insulin pump and carb counting all to regulate their blood sugars so they stay within a safety zone. Every meal, every activity, every drive to work or the store is a calculated one. If not managed, diabetes can lead to serious side effects such as blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and amputation. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
For those of you who are less familiar, in type 1, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into glucose which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. In type 2, the body produces insulin but your body does not use insulin properly, known as insulin resistance. 

Katie just post diagnosis - with diabetes under control.
My sister was diagnosed with type 1 at 10.5 months old. After an ear infection that wasn't improving, and Katie waking up in the morning with the sheets soaked from corner to corner, she was becoming more lethargic and became unable to sit up on her own. My parents being her advocates went against the pediatrician's advice that the antibiotic was having side effects and got a second opinion. This time the doctor told them to rush her to the ER where doctors searched for answers. Doctors did blood work, and a spinal tap was administered, my parents hearing her screams from the waiting room down the hall. It was determined that she had type 1 diabetes, her blood sugar over 800 and her little body was pre-coma and suffering from ketoacidosis. She had lost a pound and a half - a lot for a ten month old. With her life in the balance, the hospital, over the course of two weeks, tried to regulate her blood sugars without success. With my parents request and the hospitals permission Katie was moved to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston where within one week they regulated her blood sugar with two shots of insulin a day and educated my parents on how to care for an infant with diabetes.
Being four years younger than her, observing life with diabetes is something I grew up with. I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that individuals living with diabetes face, as well as those caring for someone with diabetes. As a mother of two daughters, 5 yrs and 18 months, I can't even begin to imagine what life would be like if one of them were to be diagnosed with diabetes. No child should have to deal with diabetes and no parent should have to hear that their child has been diagnosed with this disease. Even more alarming is that type 1, thought to be a juvenile diagnosis is now appearing later in life and Type 2, which normally affects older adults, is now appearing more and more in young adults.  I was stunned to find out that one of my long time friends was diagnosed with Type 1 after we had graduated college and were in our mid-twenties. This late diagnosis poses the challenge of restructuring your unstructured, carefree life style, which by no means is an easy feat. Together, we need to find a cure for diabetes and prevent it from affecting more lives. 
As God always does, he finds ways to open doors and connect you to missions that are near and dear to your heart. I'm blessed and honored to be working with the American Diabetes Association as the Development Director, alongside my talented colleagues Nicole DeCelle, Market Director, a type 1 diabetic, and Casey Garvey, Development Manager.  
As a team of three alongside an unbelievably committed and hardworking group of logistic and planning volunteers, we put together the Saratoga Tour de Cure, the 2nd largest Tour in the country. Held on Sunday, June 5th, the Tour is the one day of the year where we get the opportunity to celebrate our Red Riders, those individuals living with diabetes and it is a day for them to wear their disease on their sleeve and celebrate both their success of overcoming the challenges of the disease and the support and love from friends and family. Go Red Rider Go! is what you will hear that day. 
So now I challenge you to join the fight to stop diabetes. Ride, volunteer or donate and be a part of something that can change the face of this disease. You probably know someone living with this disease so do something today to honor them, support them and make a difference. For ways you can help.........
RIDE: The Tour is a bike ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. Whether you ride 10 miles or 100 miles, you will travel a route supported from start to finish with rest stops, food to fuel the journey and fans to cheer you on! The Tour is more than a cycling event, its a day where riders of all levels join forces in the fight to stop diabetes and raise critical funds for diabetes research, education and advocacy in the support of ADA. Sign up today as a rider or start a team with family and friends or in your organization as a great healthy living initiativeRIDE (Click on the blue RIDE link on the left to register to be a rider)

DONATE: Friends, families and colleagues can donate to individuals or teams riding in Tour. Companies can also join the mission by sponsoring the event both monetarily and in-kind. If this is an area of interest to you, contact me! We are also always interested in organizations that want to donate rest stop food items to fuel our riders. 
DONATE (Click on the blue donate link at the left to donate)

VOLUNTEER: Don't ride a bike? Join the fight by volunteering with us on the day of Tour.  It takes over 300 volunteers to make tour day possible.  With many opportunities to meet all interests, there is something for you so sign up today!  A list of ways you can help can be found using the link at the end of this paragraph. VOLUNTEER(Click on the blue volunteer link on the left to volunteer)  


If you are already involved in this event, thank you for your commitment and for all that you are doing for ADA and those living with diabetes. If you are thinking about getting involved thank you in advance for your support. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions by email lgreenaway@diabetes.org or by phone at 518-218-1755 x3606.   

Facebook wouldn't let us advertise this blog because they felt that saying "one in ten people have diabetes, are you one?" was offensive and derogatory.  Well, having diabetes is offensive -  to the person who has it.  Let's show Facebook how strongly we feel about ridding the world of this offensive and tiring disease.  Let's share this post all over Facebook.  Let's spread the word that Diabetes is something we need to conquer and cure.  Share this post on YOUR page today and tell the world it's time to conquer diabetes once and for all.  

Together let's find a cure for diabetes! 

To learn more about diabetes and the American Diabetes Association:

Thank you for taking time to read this very important post.  Please, please consider sharing this post on your Facebook page or in an email to your friends, family and co-workers using the links at the end of this post!  And thank you to my guest blogger - my daughter, Laura!

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