This morning I felt the wind at my back and I had a smile on my face as I rode the 25 mile Tour de Cure Minnesota route. I rode my bike to and from the ride, which added an additional 10 miles to the sunshine joy I made happen today.
Favorite bike ride
This particular bike ride is my most favorite bike ride I do every year. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, it’s a favorite ride because the heroes of the ride are all of us who live every single day, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with the VERY difficult disease of diabetes.
At this juncture, in 2022, there are nearly 35 million of us with diabetes who live in the United States. In fact, nearly every single person in the United States personally knows at least one person who has diabetes.
35 million = epidemic
Yes, diabetes is an epidemic that’s getting worse every year. It makes my heart sad. More and more people with type 2 and type 1. I’m not a medical person or a researcher, so I’m not in the know about where we are with finding a cure. Some tell me it’s just around the corner. Sadly, I’ve been hearing that since the day I was diagnosed 41 years ago.
Control what is possible to control
I do know that making the best of whatever presents itself in my life is about the only control I have over difficult challenges. Like my dear friend Jenny said the other day about her fractured humerus shoulder bone, “grieve the losses, then figure out what you CAN do to keep moving your body.”
Red Rider love
Riding in the Tour de Cure bike ride and seeing all the cyclists with diabetes in their Red Rider jerseys makes my heart sing! When I see people from very young, the youngest I saw this morning was Eleanor who is 11 years old, diagnosed with diabetes within the last year. To the oldest, who might have been the gentleman riding an electric bike who appeared to be in his 80’s, in the Red Rider jersey and I can yell, “GO RED RIDER!!” with love and enthusiasm in my voice. It infuses my entire being with happiness and connection.
Which is EXACTLY why I created the Red Rider Program in 2007 at the Tour de Cure Colorado. Seeing others who are riding their bikes and who live with the mostly hidden disease of diabetes creates a sense of taking what’s in the shadows and shining a positive light on it.
Riding with my diabuddies
This year I rode the route with my two diabuddies, Gunnar Nelson and Paul Thorsgaard, both of whom have successfully lived with type 1 diabetes for longer than I have. It is pure relief and happiness to ride with these two men and commiserate, laugh, catch up on life and be completely understood for a few hours.
I rarely talk about what it’s like for me to live every single day navigating diabetes, so the feeling of being understood and appreciated for the effort it takes, if only for a few hours while I’m riding my bike, makes it all worthwhile. Plus a relief and a joy.
Connection and support
As of today, twenty six kind and generous people have contributed to my American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure Minnesota fundraising efforts. I officially made it to Champion level once again. That feels good! Thank you!!!
The option to donate is open through July 5th, so if you’d still like to donate, follow the link. I’d like to send out extra special love to every single one of the 26 who’ve donated so far.
Waves of appreciation for generosity & kindness
Donors to my campaign are Lou Ann Kycek, Laurie Ladd Goudreault, Lynn Sojak, Colleen Roethke, Marvin Christie and his wife Emily (they were students of mine way back in the early 1990’s when I lived in Santa Cruz!), Jenny Thompson, Lena Lim, Francesca Painter (huge thanks for the many years of supporting my rides!) Nancy Rader (who is an Alzheimer’s Walk fundraiser extraordinaire! And is the mother of two of my former Harbor High School students!), Kathleen McCann Hayes, Mary Buschette, Carol Stephen, Monica Hynds, Sheila Sullivan, Karen Kingsley, Rich Poser, Carmen Ostermeier, Marilyn Benson, Anne Parker, Andrea Kittelson, Marie Rickmyer, Ara Rising, Linda Saathof, Brooks Benson, Michael Jackson and Gerald Wheeler.
I thought of you all as I was riding those 35 miles and I sent waves of gratitude and appreciation. Smiling thinking of how I know you and how appreciative I am that each of you found it in your heart and your wallet to contribute to this cause. Diabetes sucks. It sure would be nice to not have it in the world.
After the ride, I got to see my brother, his wife and their two children, Kiki and Georgia. My brother also lives with type 1 and the Tour is a place we get to connect around the drag that it is to navigate life with this condition. It was good to see them all.
And now it’s back to running, since after all, 2022 is my year of Running, Writing and Finances!!