Riding to make a difference for people with diabetes
May 25, 2011
When the alarm went off, I could hear the rain. Not exactly the weather I had hoped for on Saturday as it was the Tour de Cure bike ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association (ADA). By the time I got to Marymoor Park in Redmond, the rain had stopped and I greeted my teammates and friends, ready to ride 45 miles (some more, some less) for the cause. The Washington Tour is one of 80 Tour de Cure events around the country, now celebrating the 20th year for this fun fundraising event.
For avid cyclists like me, this is a great chance for an early season century ride (100 miles!) or a fun fast 45. Or, for anyone looking to pedal for the cause, a moderate 15 mile route is available as well. Anyone can join in the fun for this important cause that affects all of us – diabetes.
Who doesn’t know someone with diabetes? Almost 26 million children and adults in the United States are living with diabetes and another 7 million remain undiagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control National Diabetes Fact Sheet spells out the alarming statistics and rate of growth in our country. Not to mention the devastating complications that can result.
Why do I ride? I ride for the countless members of my family who have had and are currently living with diabetes - my mom, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. There is hope that someday we may find a cure. In the meantime, we can help people with diabetes better manage their disease and prevent complications.
My family history and possibility for developing diabetes is strong but we do know a lot about prevention and reducing our controllable risk factors like physical activity and diet. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a large prevention study of people at high risk for diabetes, showed that lifestyle intervention to lose weight and increase physical activity reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58% during a 3-year period. The reduction was even greater, 71%, among adults aged 60 years or older.
So, I also ride to promote physical activity, and the knowledge that controlling type 2 diabetes may well depend on one’s ability to stay physically active and follow a healthy meal plan, and take appropriate medications. I can think of no better way to be active than cycling.
The rain held off for the few hours ride and under partly sunny skies we celebrated the success of riders coming to the finish line completing 15, 25, 45, 70 and 100 mile rides.
Many people participate in the Tour de Cure for the competition, camaraderie and physical cycling challenge, but the real reward comes in knowing that every mile we ride and every dollar we raise brings us that much closer to stopping this disease.