Why I Ride:
I became involved in finding a cure for diabetes since I was in high school. When I was in high school, I volunteered at Memorial Hospital. One of my assignments was to help with the Pediatric Diabetes Support Group. While parents of children with diabetes were attending the support group, I was involved in doing crafts and playing games with children that had diabetes and their siblings. I got to know the children and realized how much the disease of diabetes could affect their daily activities. With constant monitoring of intake and blood sugar levels and the administration of insulin, they controlled this disease. Those children had to grow up immediately in order to control their disease. Unfortunately, diabetes is not a curable disease (yet). It is also then that I became involved in raising money to find a cure for diabetes. I participated in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes with the hospital's team. I continued this through college.
I went to college and became an RN and worked in the ICU and ER and cared for many patients with diabetes, sometimes it would be at the time of diagnosis and sometimes it would be when they had dangerously high or low blood sugar levels. I also worked in a dialysis clinic, where I worked with a team of skilled providers to deliver to dialysis to patients (many of which have acquired End Stage Renal Disease from their diabetes) to help filter their blood and to keep them alive from all of the toxins that develop daily that people normally excrete through their urine. I have seen what complications diabetes can lead to (kidney failure, limb amputations, and death) and experienced the loss of a friend (a young girl that was in the diabetes support group) to diabetes.
After I became a nurse, I participated in my first cycling event, the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in October of 2006 in Death Valley, California. It was a great experience and after riding about 20 miles, I determined that I wanted to participate in more cycling events and improve my cycling ability.
I was introduced to Tour de Cure by a co-worker of mine while working in the ICU. When the ADA had their inaugural Southern Colorado Tour de Cure in 2011, I participated in my first ADA Tour de Cure. I rode 30 miles in Woodland Park that year. I then participated in the second Southern Colorado Tour de Cure and rode 40 miles until the weather stopped my 50 mile effort. In 2013, I was unable to ride in the Tour de Cure due to back and shoulder injuries and instead volunteered during their 3rd year in Southern Colorado (held in Colorado Springs). Last year, I volunteered with the planning committee for the 4th annual Southern Colorado Tour de Cure and chaired the route committee. I ended up riding 25+ miles to ensure that the family route had signs and that any riders needing help received it. This year, I am preparing to ride the century (100 mile) route! Also, this year I am the Team Co-Captain for Team Red which is the team for those that support our Red Riders (riders that have diabetes), our Red Riders, their family members, friends, and those that would like to be in a team that do not already have a team. I am also working with our Red Rider committee chair to ensure that our Red Riders feel supported and appreciated here in our Southern Colorado Tour de Cure.
In December of 2013, I myself was diagnosed with diabetes. It was one of the hardest things to hear and come to grips with. I knew that, with Type II diabetes' genetic component (both my mother's and father's side have family members with diabetes), that I was at an increased risk of developing diabetes. I had tried to remain active and watch my weight to do what I could to avoid or delay the development of diabetes, but it wasn't enough. I have spent a lot of time blaming myself for my diagnosis, but on the other hand I know that developing diabetes was not completely my fault. What I can control is how I deal with my disease and work with my support team (physician, diabetes educator, and dietician) to treat my disease. Unfortunately, there is so much false information out there about diabetes, which makes this diagnosis so much harder.
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin that the pancreas makes. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar (glucose) from the blood into the cells.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
- Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
- Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
After being diagnosed, I have received support from the ADA and my community to come to accept my diagnosis and to do everything I can to control my diabetes. Since being diagnosed, I have lost over 50 pounds which equates to over 22% of my body weight from when I was diagnosed. I have also decreased my average blood glucose readings. I am currently off of Metformin which I had to take to keep my glucose levels under control, but still must monitor my levels daily. It is with constant emphasis on exercising (cycling and Crossfit) and diet, I have been able to lower my blood glucose levels. I am not cured, and I may need to resume my medications if my glucose control is not maintained.
It is for my family members, friends, and patients with diabetes that I ride for a cure and support the ADA in its mission to find a cure for diabetes, advocate and educate those with diabetes.
Please take a moment and find out your diabetes risk: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/
Each mile I ride, and the funds I raise will be used in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
No matter the size, your generous gift will help improve the lives of nearly 29 million Americans who suffer from diabetes, in the hope that future generations can live in a world without this disease. Together, we can all make a difference!
Thank you for making a generous contribution to this cause that is so important to me!