April 30, 2015

Guest Post - Living Through the Mission

Living Through the American Diabetes Association’s mission
By: Alexandra Infanzon

Presently, there are nearly 29 million Americans living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the US. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2013, over 65,000 cyclists in 89 Tour de Cure events across the United States raised more than $26 million to support diabetes research, education, and awareness. That is impressive. These great efforts are implemented for the purpose of one common goal: to find a cure for diabetes. Each Tour event has special features to promote the organization’s mission, which is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Those features include: Team Red, Red Riders, and Champions. In my first year, I fulfilled all three.

In 2013, I joined the planning committee of the first Washington, DC Tour de Cure. I instantly knew I wanted to take a lead so I volunteered to be the Team Red Captain. Team Red is for anyone that wants to join a team but does not know anyone else riding. This team facilitates meet-ups through planned fundraisers, social events, and training rides by the Team Red Captain, in this case me. My team grew from 0 to 45 in one year and ended up raising over $30,000. It comprised of Red-riders and non-Red Riders. 

What is a Red Rider? A Red Rider is anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, on May 28. I won’t forget that day, not only because I was thirsty, sleepy, and showing symptoms but because I had to be hospitalized and that was my biggest fear. After attending camp for diabetes, I learned how to take control and not let it get to me. Everyone has their diagnostic story but my parents were familiar with the disease and they diagnosed me even before my fasting blood glucose came back as 300mg/dL. My entire family came to visit me in the hospital and showed me their support, which still to this day can be seen.

For my first ride I raised over $1,000, which considered me a Champion. At first, I thought it was going to be hard to raise the minimum $250 to ride but two weeks after I registered, my uncle donated $250 and his company made a matching-gift donation which totaled $500! Then my parents, my grandparents, and my entire family donated to my ride!

This year marks my third Tour de Cure ride, but it will be my first in North Carolina. The NC Tour de Cure will be held May 16-17, being unique in the sense that it is the only 2-day Tour event in the nation. The ride starts in Cary and has 7 routes to choose from. The shortest ride consists of a 10-mile route, while the longest is divided into two days, 100 miles to Aberdeen on Saturday and 100 miles back to Cary on Sunday totaling 200 miles. The other distances are 25, 50, 80, 100, or 160. If you’d like to join Team Red, visit nctourdecure.org and register today. 

My mission is to complete one Tour de Cure event per year. I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 13 years, this upcoming May 28, and I will not stop fighting this disease until we have found a cure. 

Together, we can find a cure for diabetes!