Marty's Tour de Cure 2020 Page
Thank you again to my many friends and family members who sponsored my six previous rides in the Rochester Tour de Cure rides (2014-2019). You contributed to valuable research on the causes, complications and treatment of diabetes, as well as to the American Diabetes Association's support and advocacy for diabetic patients.
You also helped the Rochester Tour event lead the nation in Tour de Cure fundraising in 2017, 2018, and 2019! Last year alone, Rochester participants raised more than $1.25 million. We have stiff competition from much larger cities, but we're gunning for No. 1 again in 2020. Thanks to you, I raised $6,300 in 2019; I'm going for $7,000 in 2020. This won't be easy, as so many people are affected by the pandemic and associated economic distress.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to keep participants and volunteers safe, the ADA has wisely chosen not to have our usual in-person events - here in Rochester, we would have more than 2,000 people at our site for the day. Great party, but not prudent while the pandemic is still on. Instead, we are going "virtual." On Saturday, Oct. 3, participants will ride, run, or walk in their own neighborhoods and towns across Rochester and the Finger Lakes region - wearing our Tour de Cure gear to remind the public what we're doing.
I'm going farther, too. In solidarity with my son Brad and the millions of other diabetes patients across America, I pledged to ride my bike 2,000 miles between April 17 (when the event went virtual and the date changed) and Oct. 3.
To my past donors, you have also encouraged and sustained me in my effort to be healthier and more fit. Personal goals, whether in fitness or fundraising, motivate and inspire - especially when they benefit a cause that's this important to my family. Please read on below my signature, to hear my family's story.
Many thanks again for your support over the years. Stay safe and well in 2020!
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. 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). We all endured his brittle insulin “reactions” – the shakes, the anxiety and emotional swings, the tachycardia, the thirsts, the cravings – and we knew where he stashed the orange juice and candy bars for when they happened.
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 stocking feet in an attempt to counteract the progressive numbing. 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 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 in an accident 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 a few 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. Better still, Brad is a Red Rider along with me on the McDougall, Marty & Friends team! 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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