A Letter from Ride to Cure Participant and JDRF Board Memember, Dan Haywardon Feb 01 in Get Involved!, Life with Diabetes, Ride to Cure Diabetes by jdrf
Dear JDRF Supporter,
113 miles! No sweat. That’s what I thought on a crisp, cool morning standing on a downtown Tucson, Arizona street at 6:45 a.m. My Ride to Cure Diabetes adventure was to start at 7 a.m. I had done all the training; I changed my body for this ride. But, for the ride itself, I was going to change my life. Standing with over 9,000 cyclists all waiting in line to trek out on a 113 mile adventure, I thought about what brought me to this point and how I would focus during the 8 hours on my bike.
I was riding to help find a cure. I was riding for me. At 28, type 1 diabetes caught me. I was working hard, had a good life and tried to make the most of every day. Sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes I didn’t. Then, out of nowhere, I lost 20 lbs off my 185 pound frame. Something was wrong. I went to my doctor; they pulled some blood and in an instant I became a type 1 diabetic. Four and a half years later, I was standing in a long line of cyclists with 150 fellow JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes cyclists all around me. It was a moment of pure joy, raw emotion and gut-filling butterflies.
The JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program is JDRF at full-speed. The people I met and the emotions I felt could only come from a program designed to bring JDRF and the passion it will take to find a cure into its purest and most unadulterated form. There were parents, friends, co-workers and neighbors of type 1 diabetics. And, there were type 1 diabetics that were all part of the larger group. The JDRF riders were on a mission. Raise as much money as possible, train like you have never trained before and beat type 1 diabetes into the ground and out of existence. After 8 hours on the bike and a tremendous amount of soul searching, I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we will bring this disease to an end. But, it is going to take many more moments like this to close the door and turn out the lights at every single JDRF chapter office across America and around the world.
ANYONE who wants to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes and to challenge themselves to reach a personal goal can and should participate in the Ride to Cure Diabetes. JDRF riders range from experienced cyclists to first time novice riders. JDRF’s National Head Coaches have excellent training plans for preparing for these endurance rides. Coaches will help you adopt a training schedule and plan that is right for you, no matter what fitness level you begin from. This is not a race, it’s a ride, and all riders are encouraged to ride at their own pace. There are different mileage and fundraising options and 5 ride locations, giving every individual the opportunity to create the ride experience that is right for them. The ride is a great experience for families as well; riders as young as thirteen can participate if they have a parent or guardian riding along with them. The camaraderie and sense of personal accomplishment that goes along with the ride program is unparalleled. It is a life changing experience at every level.
As you consider supporting JDRF, I strongly encourage you to consider the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program. On July 12-15, 2012, I will be participating in the JDRF Ride in Burlington, Vermont. I would love to have a full team of fellow central Pennsylvania teammates by my side. If you have any questions about the ride and want to ask, I am always open for a good discussion. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717.514.6948.
JDRF Board Member
2011 & 2012 Ride to Cure Diabetes Participant