For years, I would throw a party/fundraiser on June 19th, hoping to turn a painful childhood memory into something positive. In elementary school, I was the only girl in my class NOT invited to a classmate’s birthday party. My classmate announced that I wasn’t invited because I had diabetes and her Mom said I was going to die. I arrived home, and between sobs, told my Mom what happened. My Mom was horrified, and immediately called the birthday girl’s mother, believing this must be a mistake. Unfortunately, the mother explained that I was NOT invited to the birthday party and it was “too risky” to have me in her home. Unapologetically, she admitted she told her daughter that I would die of this disease. Wow.
TODAY, I celebrate. Today marks 39 years since my diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes. I recently learned that on this day in 1979, my life expectancy was roughly 48 years old. Dear 48, I am getting closer. I am coming for you.
This year, I will ride with my wingman, Larry and hundreds of other like-minded and driven folks who are also aligned with JDRF to treat,cure and prevent T1D. Larry and I have formed our own team, (we need a team name and would LOVE to hear your suggestions) to expand our fundraising commitment. We will ride this September 15th through (well more like up and down) the hills in Saratoga Springs.
When we first started dating, Larry had never heard of Type 1 Diabetes. He knew nothing, yet when he mentioned it to his kids, they not only knew there were different types of diabetes, but they were familiar with insulin pumps as they had a classmate with T1D. How encouraging! Fast forward, Larry is now the one who often hears my continuous glucose monitor alarming in the night before I do. He has learned to inject a continuous glucose monitor in my arm and a pump site in my lower back. Last year, he was trained as my “care partner” in another clinical trial. And now, the guy who got me to date him by saying he was training for a century bike ride (seriously questionable), trains right along with me and hesitantly (there's a lot of complaining) dons a JDRF SPANDEX Jersey!
We are riding to ensure a better future and help JDRF fund a diverse list of research projects in its commitment to a cure. Since my last JDRF ride there has been exciting progress (check out "beta cell replacement") , new therapies and promising discoveries (check out JDRF's partnership with IBM's Watson) that are immensely encouraging and received their initial funding through JDRF grants.
I am excited to have you on this journey with Larry and me and am grateful for your generous donations, support and good cheer as we Ride to turn Type ONE into Type NONE. Get ready, more 40-somethings in Spandex photos to come! If that isn't a good enough reason to cure T1D, I don't know what else is!