Rachel, our diabetic daughter, won’t be biking in this year’s Kennebunks Tour de Cure. Instead, she’s walking to Maine.
Let that sink in.
As I write this, Rachel is a third of the way through her solo northbound trek up the Appalachian Trail. She plans to reach Mt Katahdin in Maine in August, having backpacked for 5+ months across 2189 undulating miles; the fluctuations in elevation are equivalent to ascending Mt Everest 16 times! In the 80 years since the AT’s creation, a handful of type one diabetics have successfully completed the full hike; as far as we can tell, no woman with type one diabetes has documented completing a solo thru hike ... yet.
While we credit much to Rachel’s personal determination and extensive wilderness training, she is also emboldened and equipped to take on this challenge due to advances in research and medical technology. I like to think that some 1st generation Tour de Cure rider raised funds 25 years ago. I like to think that those funds contributed to discovering faster, smaller, and more accurate glucose testing methods and in designing more sophisticated insulin delivery systems. Yesterday’s fundraising dollars may have morphed into today’s insulin pump and CGM. Rachel now utilizes these devices as she embarks on her solo hike of the AT. Because of those advancements, she lives her life more freely, and her dreams for adventure have materialized.
Imagine what TODAY’s fundraising dollars might do. At minimum, scientists will craft an artificial pancreas. Or develop a diabetes vaccine. Or maybe YOUR dollars will be the ones that eliminate diabetes altogether.
If Rachel can hike 2189 miles with the weight of diabetes and a 33 lb pack, we can certainly bike a few without it.
Ride with us. Ride for Rachel. If you can’t ride, please support the promising efforts in research by donating now. Cure is within our grasp!