Marty's Tour de Cure 2017 Page
Thank you again to my many friends and family members who sponsored my Tour de Cure rides in 2014, 2015 and 2016. You contributed to valuable research on the causes, complications and treatment of diabetes and to the American Diabetes Association's support of diabetic patients.
You also inspired and sustained me in my effort to become healthier and more fit. Goals motivate and inspire, and when they benefit a cause that's this important to my family.
Why do I do this? Please read on below my signature, to hear why fighting diabetes is so important to me and my family.
By the way, if you enjoy bicycling and would like to join Team No Spin, please do! Let me know if you're interested, and I'll be glad to help.
Many thanks again, and happy riding in 2017!
WHY I RIDE
I ride for diabetes because my family tree is shot full of the disease; it has harmed and killed people I love. Every moment that I grind away on my bike, I think of my family members who faced or still face diabetes - my task is so much easier than theirs - and I think gratefully of each person who has contributed to my ride in support of the American Diabetes Association and its work.
My father was a Type 1 diabetic before they called it Type 1; they called it juvenile diabetes then. Whatever they called it, his pancreas collapsed at age 31, 13 years before I was born. My earliest memories include his daily insulin injection – most often, my mother administering the needle to his leg as he lay on their bed after breakfast. Once a day was apparently all his doctors knew back then (thankfully, treatment has come far since). And his brittle insulin “reactions,” they called them – the shakes, the emotional swings, the thirsts, the cravings. The orange juice and the candy bars stashed where he could reach them when the insulin overshot its goal, causing tachycardia (sudden-onset rapid heartbeats), anxiety and sometimes near-blackouts.
And there were the insidious complications. Dad suffered from progressive atherosclerosis – “hardening of the arteries” – and neuropathy… numbness in his extremities, and especially in his feet. It’s sadly laughable to look back on it, but over the last several years of his life, his doctor told him to take off his shoes and walk around the house in his stocking feet in an attempt to counteract the progressive numbing of his feet. In the end, the complications are what took him from us. He died of a myocardial infarction at age 59. The thing is, no one then or now could draw a straight line of cause and effect from diabetes to the heart attack; the science remains too murky. But ask me what I believe, and I’ll tell you that diabetes robbed me of decades with my father. Men in our family without diabetes have mostly lived into their 80s or 90s.
But wait, there’s more. Dad’s next-younger brother Herbert also contracted diabetes at the age of 16. He did better than Dad, living to age 72, and may have lived longer if he hadn't suffered a grievous injury when hit by a truck at age 64. It may have been because he was more physically active (he was a milkman and a handyman, while Dad was a businessman) – or perhaps only because he lucked out.
Their father also was diabetic, succumbing at age 35 to the disease’s complications in 1920, just two years before Toronto research physicians, Drs. Banting and Best, successfully treated a young diabetic with insulin extracted from beef pancreas. Before Grandpa, many other of our ancestors died young, even as children. While we have no conclusive information to say how many were diabetic, we sadly believe many were.
My siblings and I have been passed over by the “angel of diabetes,” thankfully – at least, so far - but several years ago, my son Brad was diagnosed as diabetic. Thankfully, he is a savvy, dedicated patient, and his treatment has so far been very successful. We pray that his good, complication-free health continues for many decades.
While treatment for diabetes has advanced dramatically over the past 50 years, the questions and unknowns that remain are breathtaking. Why do different diabetic patients suffer different complications? What do those complications even have to do with an excess or deficit of insulin or glucose in the blood or vital organs? What are the genetic switches that flip one person to diabetic while ignoring others even in the same family? If we successfully treat the blood sugar levels, does that mean we have also avoided the complications? Are the pharmaceutical treatments we produce as free of side effects and complications as we can possibly make them?
These are the questions that deserve your attention and your donations.
This is why I ride in the Tour de Cure. I hope, I pray that ongoing research will lead to new insights and treatments that enable more diabetics to lead long, healthy lives. Please, consider donating to support the fight against diabetes.
If you would like to contribute, please click above on "Donate to Me" - even though you are not donating to me. You will be donating to the American Diabetes Association and supporting its campaign to solve more of the mysteries of diabetes.
Thank you, truly, for your attention and your generosity.
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