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A rough year, a Ride, and the Future

A rough year, a Ride, and the Future
A rough year, a Ride, and the Future

2008 was a tough year for me. I lost my mother and discovered I was a type 2 diabetic. Since then, riding in the Tour has helped me get in the best shape of my life, manage my diabetes, and help find a cure.

2008 was a tough year for me. In the summer I lost my mother. After her death, I promised to get myself to a healthy weight, as it was one of the things she wanted for me. In the process of trying to become more healthy and manage my weight, several other health issues began to surface which culminated in a visit to the doctor the week before Thanksgiving. It was then that I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which explained the health issues, but presented a whole new set of challenges.

Since then, I have learned to live with diabetes and have a healthier lifestyle. I have medication that allows me to control my diabetes without needing insulin and it has allowed me to have a relatively normal life. I am a diabetic, it is a part of who I am, but it does not define me, it makes me stronger.

My father-in-law, Jim Wilkins, had been riding in the Tour de Cure for a few years. I also discovered that a good friend of mine, our Team Captain David Poirier (Team Dia-Beat-It), had also been riding in the Tour for a while in support of his wife Debbie, who is a Type 1 Diabetic. The Boy Scout Troop (Troop 1204) that my sons and David's sons are in also began working on their cycling merit badge, and as a result several of the boys and leaders of the troop, including myself and my wife, rode in the Tour de Cure last year (2009) [Myself, my father-in-law, and my wife are in the picture above].

For me personally, the support and friendship from the people riding has been phenomenal. Debbie continues to be an inspiration, and David and my friends and family continue to push me to ride more, and improve my health. This ride is important, not just for the money raised to support diabetes research, but for the continuing support to help me, and others with diabetes, become more healthy and overcome the effects of this disease.

This year, I will ride the 50K (30 mile) ride, it is something that I had never thought I would be able to do. Next year, I hope to be in shape to ride the 100K, maybe even consider the 100 miles. I am 38 years old and in the best shape of my life. The Tour is the event that has allowed me to focus my energies, and the inspiration and support from my family, friends and teammates is what has helped me reach this point.

I ride to improve my life, I ride to honor my promise to my mother, I ride to find a cure for those who are not as blessed as I am to be able to manage their disease, and I ride so that diabetes will not control me.

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