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$33,782.50
I HAVE RAISED
$34,000
MY GOAL
99%
ACHIEVED

Join me in the fight to cure, better treat and prevent type 1 diabetes!

Karen and Alex at the finish line!
Madison, Hunter, Karen and Alex

    All,

    Last year, I reached out to friends, family and colleagues asking for contributions towards my first century ride in support of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D).  More than 250 of you kindly and generously reached deep into your wallets – donating more than $39,000 on my behalf.  You may know that a year ago, I didn’t even own a bike and couldn’t have told you that “century ride” was code for riding a bicycle 100 miles in one day.  But I did it!  And participating in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes was inspiring in so many ways (see my diary inscription below), and knowing that every dollar invested in research makes a difference in the lives of those dealing with this behemoth of a disease-- yes, I’m saddling up and doing it again.  And this year, so is Alex!  

    On August 16, Alex and I will be taking part in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.   As many of you know, I have been an active volunteer with JDRF since 2001 when at the age of 11, Alex was diagnosed with T1D.   JDRF, as the largest non-profit dedicated to fostering T1D research, is currently investing over $500 million dollars towards groundbreaking research to aggressively prevent, treat and cure this disease.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to come to you each year with an ask for JDRF, if we could take a break?  But the truth is, for those with T1D, there are no breaks. Alex wears an insulin pump that delivers insulin to her body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   She also wears a continuous glucose monitor that checks her blood sugar round the clock (if only the CGM could “talk” to the pump and tell it how much insulin to dose, we’d have the artificial pancreas — the scientists are working on it!).  Alex monitors everything she eats and how much she exercises, and yet, T1D continues to be an unpredictable monster.  Alex is grown now – living on her own and successful in her career, but I continue to worry about her.  I worry that while asleep, her blood sugar might dip too low, and she might not wake up in the morning. I worry that when she has symptoms from low blood sugar, like dizziness, sweating, sluggishness, or disorientation, her friends, co-workers or the guy sitting near her on the bus might not realize she needs help. I worry that she might lose consciousness among strangers. But this isn’t just about Alex.  An estimated 15,000 children and 15,000 adults are diagnosed with T1D in the US each year.

    So here I am, once more, writing to you.  I am confident that one day my annual letter will have a different tone, and I will be writing to announce that Alex no longer has to follow the strict regimen, that she no longer has to fear blindness, kidney failure, heart disease or amputation, and that she will have finally thrown away her insulin pump and CGM. I will be writing to say that thanks to you, T1D is now just a distant memory, and that Alex and the millions of other people around the world who once suffered from it can take back their lives and renew their sense of being a normal person.

    The goal is to be complication-free every day. To not let the daily burden of T1D overcome Alex and others.  There are no breaks from T1D. Ever. Emotionally, financially, and of course, physically. But until that day, I ask for your help. Alex and I are committed to completing the 100 mile JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes and hope you will support our efforts. You may donate online by clicking on the DONATE NOW button above. If you prefer, you may send a check (payable to JDRF) to my attention c/o The PrivateBank, 120 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60603. 

    On behalf of Alex and the estimated 2 million Americans living with T1D, thank you for your consideration.  As always, I am appreciative of your tireless loyalty and unwavering generosity.  Perhaps it is one of YOUR dollars that will unlock the code to a cure, and together, we will be known as the people who turned Type One into Type None. 

    Karen

     August 16, 2013

    The Ride took place this past weekend, throughout which I laughed, cried, hugged and was inspired by 225 riders of all ages and sizes plus dozens of coaches, volunteers and staff members…and yes!  I pedaled every bit of 100 miles on Saturday.  It was a picture perfect day--cool and foggy during our 7 am departure from  LaCrosse, Wisconsin as we headed over the bridge into Minnesota on our way to Iowa where we spent the large part of our day cycling along the road that hugs the Mississippi.  It was absolutely beautiful.  By tradition, Mile 23 is a “silent mile” dedicated to those we ride for—yet one more emotional and heart-wrenching experience of the weekend.   

    I bet you thought Iowa was flat as a pancake.  Apparently not all of it, as somewhere around Mile 42, by which time the sun had burned off the foggy mist and the temperature had risen to a comfortable 80, we arrived at The Hill—several miles of gradual incline followed by several more miles of rollers – thank goodness I had three great training rides in Colorado this summer!  And double thank goodness for Coach Chris whose chatter up The Hill was a great distraction from what was ahead.  The reward is a mile or two of downhill coasting---wheeeee!

    Back to flatland and pedal, pedal, pedal to the finish – I met my personal riding goal and maintained a pretty even 15 mph—not the slowest and not the fastest, but not bad for someone who’s not a cyclist and just bought a bike in May!  I was greeted by my daughter Alex and a large bouquet of flowers, and knowing how important it is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, I immediately downed three Bud Lights (and a Diet Coke of course).  I was smart enough to have scheduled a post-ride massage – unfortunately the masseuse thought I was at the Radisson in Madison!  Good news was I felt strong and pain-free.  Must have been all that Gatorade and the many Nutella sandwiches I inhaled at the 6 rest stops throughout the day.

    Oh, and did I mention that due to the generosity of so many friends and colleagues, I was top fundraiser of the 225 riders?  But while I got to wear the coveted green jersey as recognition (so that’s where the Tour de France got the idea, eh?), it is each of my supporters who deserves the applause for making a difference in turning Type One into Type None. 

     

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