I Have Diabetes
Red Rider Spotlight – Bill Szemcsak - Couch Potato to Athlete via the Tour de Cure
When Bill was turned down for life insurance in January 2013, he and his wife, Cathy, learned he had type 2 diabetes. They knew he had to get serious about weight loss and controlling his blood sugar. He was unable to get a doctor appointment for a few months, but didn’t wait to get started.
“I went on the Internet and visited WebMD and American Diabetes Association’s website for information.” Bill says. “I started with a very low carb diet and exercised daily. I was starting to exercise with my wife, who at the age of 60 had just started running half-marathons, so I had good partners, with her and my friend, ‘Will Power’.”
Bill learned about the Tour de Cure, the ADA’s signature fundraising bike ride, and signed up for his first one in Jacksonville in May, 2013. With his daily exercise and diet, he was rapidly shedding pounds and lowering his A1C, a test that determines average blood glucose levels over time. Bill’s started off at a dangerous 12.7. In the first year (with a few more Tour de Cures thrown in) it dropped to a healthy 5.8. He shed 80 pounds, down to a slim 191 pounds of muscle. His body fat is just 7.9%,
In spite of this turnaround, Bill’s life is still deeply affected by diabetes. “People think diabetes is ‘just sugar’,” he says. “It’s so much more than just ‘sugar’. Excess blood sugar permanently damages your body. I have Diabetic neuropathy with pain. My sight is affected. My circulatory system along with many internal organs are affected.”
This year you can sign up for either a ride, run or walk which makes it easy for people of all physical abilities to be a part of this event. With hundreds of people who may share a similar story, and hundreds more to support you, being a part of this special group can help with your first step or your millionth—in your fight to live a healthier life.
Riding your bike, running or walking are great ways to stay in shape and exercise is extremely important for everyone with diabetes. To help you succeed you will have access to training tips specific for people living with diabetes.
If you have diabetes and register for this event, you are automatically a VIP and will be surrounded by people who want to support you and cheer you on. The Tour de Cure recognizes participants with diabetes as the superstars on the day of the event with special Tour de Cure gifts for fundraising, a recognition tent and more.
All you need to do to be recognized as an event VIP is register for the Tour de Cure and choose “Participant with Diabetes.”