UPDATE 5-26. Simon and Greg rode 25 miles today! Simon's account of the ride mainly included roadkill sightings and jokes on the road's name ("Buttrick"--great fodder for a 12-year-old boy), but otherwise I believe this was an important milestone in their training.
And the boys were in the news last week. Copy and paste in this link to see!
Yesterday, Simon and Greg accomplished 18 miles with the West Michigan JDRF ride team. That's 11 more than at the first training ride! Simon's really doing well, especially for the prefers-to-be-sitting bookreader he is. But most important, I can see he's finding a hobby and a new community right when he needs it most; adolescence is settling in, as is most evident when I stand next to him and his eyes can meet mine straight on. I can't think of a better moment in time for him to be enjoying being on a bike outdoors, with people he didn't know a month ago giving him praise.
Probably Greg will ride instead of me, as his body is more equipped for endurance activities.Turns out, he had already done a century once in his life. Who knew? Probably he told me some time in our 20+ year history, but the relevance finally sunk in.
The checklist is getting shorter. We have two bikes and helmets, and we can ride more than half of the miles planned, with three months more to train. Final needs include: bike rack to haul the gear to Wisconsin and raising that final 2K. We can do it!
Okay, so I got on a bike, and I was scared. Am working on that. A giant thanks to our local JDRF team, who lent us a bike to train on and ride in Wisconsin. I made it around the neighborhood twice, which may explain why I'm trying to talk Greg into taking my place. More on that later...
Meanwhile, I am encouraged by our fundraising progress. Simon and I have raised 4 of the 6K! Still a ways to go, but we're grateful. Be sure to check out the updates on Simon's page, as well.
Thanks for stopping by! Just below this message you'll find the story behind the ride, so I'd like to tell you the story behind our fundraising, instead.
The kids have done a bulk of it--Simon's been selling his comics at school and really reaching out of his comfort zone to spread the word, and Theo memorized a bunch of numbers. He already knew 141 digits of pi, so we issued a challenge offering a digit for every $15 donation. You can see the results here:
I've been running the operation and working concessions at a local arena, and Greg is planning a hymn sing. Meanwhile, we've been amazed at the generosity we've seen while gathering the first $3000, and know that the final 3K will follow easily for this great cause. Thanks for your help!
Let me tell you about the night I learned about this ride.
I dragged the kids to a local running shop, on a school night, to attend a meeting run by JDRF. The idea was my husband, Greg, would run a marathon and raise money for the organization. I had an inkling I might want to ride, too; my family jokes that I only take up sports beginning with B (bench pressing, boxing...biking).
The enthusiasm in the room was infectious, so much so that when we were leaving and I asked the kids what they thought, Simon, age 12, said, "I want to do it."
Let's back up for a minute. This is a kid who reads books. A lot of books. He draws comics, too, and cracks a lot of jokes. But sweating, my friend, he does not do. No sports, no physical activity of his own accord. The kids is barely passing PE. And yet he wanted to ride.
I didn't want to spoil the moment, so I just nodded my head. The next day he asked if we would do it. Airfare, fundraising, went swirling in my head. I said I wasn't sure. Over the next week, I convinced myself that his reasons couldn't be genuine; this is a kid who chose to play the bass in orchestra only when he learned it came with a stool on which to rest. I was sure he wanted to do the ride because someone had mentioned all the food that's offered. He's 12; that would matter.
But when I asked him later to tell me what made him want to do this, he said, "It sounds like fun. And, well, it's for diabetes." Decision made: we would ride. (Greg will still run a marathon, but we felt that two of us fundraising is enough.)
I am doing this for both of my sons, then: for Simon, who is willing to break out of his very comfortable comfort zone and train and bike 30 miles through Wisconsin with his mom and for his brother; and for Theo, age 9, who will have type 1 diabetes until a cure is found.
When we walked into the meeting, the director was in the middle of saying how close reserarchers are to finding a cure and better treatments. The technology has come so far in the past decade, from pumps to continuous glucose montiors to combos of the two.
All they need is money. There are lots of great causes out there but this one, this one can take your donation through the smooth and rough terrain, and over the finish line.
Diabetes is a manageable illness, but it's a major illness. All day, every day, we work in its service to keep Theo healthy and safe. We pray we keep our heads when it comes to getting the math and shots right, because we're the ones who prescribe, change, and administer doses. We educate everyone who comes in his path. We bite our tongues over misconceptions. We cry when mistakes happen. We cry when, by the grace of God and parental intution, we catch a mistake that could have been life-threatening.
Simon and I each have to raise at least $3K to fulfill our commitment. Your money is so important to this. Our ride is symbolic of our faith in these researchers, our dream of a cure, and our love for Theo.
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