Earlier this year, when in Wisconsin for the funeral of Jesse Alswager, I decided that I would like to join Jesse's mom, Michelle, as she and a number of friends chose to honor him by riding at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley, California, on October 16, 2010. Since then I have become aware of similar stories of great loss, including the deaths of several young people close in age to Jesse. I have tried to live with a philosophy that diabetes is more of an inconvenience than a death sentence; still, these heart-wrenching events have touched me and reminded me that insulin and all of our wonderful technological advances still allow too many to slip away. It is still hard for me to reconcile these events, knowing that I share the same condition.
After my accident at the velodrome in May, I wasn't sure what the next few months would hold, and whether I would be able to continue with my plans for Death Valley. The collarbone surgery was successful, but I would need to take blood thinners (warfarin) for up to 6 months to help treat three clots that had formed in my lungs. The scare tactics from my physicians were pretty effective and I felt discouraged that I would not be riding for the rest of 2010. Slowly, though, I was connected with other athletes on warfarin and realized that some riding would be okay. A month after the crash, I was elated to be out riding again. I chose the safest routes I knew, and backed off a little on the descents and when approaching intersections. I spent more time indoors on the rollers, and also picked up swimming and running again. Road racing and other large group rides were out of the question. But, fortunately, my time on the warfarin was shortened to just three months, and I am happy to now be riding warfarin-free as of this past weekend. (This experience has given me an appreciation for those who must remain on warfarin for life--a topic for another post.)
I decided to continue with my plans to ride in memory of Jesse, Trent, and all the other people whose lives have been shortened by this disease. I will also ride in support of their families. Additionally, I will ride to honor those who currently face a daily struggle due to serious complications of diabetes. I am fortunate and grateful to be in good health and to be able to pursue my dreams. Finding a cure is the best way to ensure that all people with type 1 diabetes can continue on that same path.
I would be touched by your donation. If you are able to donate, please go to my JDRF page here. Any amount is helpful and welcome, and you can donate anonymously if you would like.