As you’re kitting up before your next long bicycle ride, maybe filling your water bottles with your favourite powdered ‘power’ product or stuffing your pockets with gels, bars and all manner of fuels, please give a thought to this – In your pre-ride ritual you also just gave yourself your first of up to six injections of insulin for the day.
Sometimes on a ride, you may lose a bar or gel on the road and return home sugar-flat or ‘bonked’ from using up your energy stores, but for someone with type 1 diabetes they would be facing a tougher consequence that may threaten their life.
Did you know around 122,300 Australians have type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), this is amongst the highest rates in the world. Hard to fathom when you picture Australia as the cycling obsessed nation that it is becoming, well at least Melbourne is!
This may be where a distinction needs to be drawn. Many people are no doubt aware of type 2 diabetes which may be regulated by going on a diet or changing sugar intake habits. This reason for this is type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease where the body produces some insulin but isn’t able to use it properly. It can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes though insulin is sometimes required.
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and takes lifelong insulin therapy to survive. Insulin is not a cure but it does allow a person with type 1 to stay alive.
Perhaps you’ll be impressed when you hear that there may be a rider in your bunch who has type 1 diabetes. Consider though that for them it is about more than what bar or gel is in their pocket, it’s being responsible for their health with that same level of thought and attention you pay before a ride, but every day, not just before a ride.
If they get it wrong, the consequences are far worse than an afternoon on the couch. It might be kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputation, heart attack and even stroke.
This weekend I’m heading to the Barossa Valley which will include a reconnaissance of the area in anticipation of the fundraising challenge 2012 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. This event is to be held in the Barossa Valley before the Tour Down Under in January 2012. This weekend will be my feeble research effort.
JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) however will do a far better job than I as it supports funded research on two main areas for type 1 diabetes: Cure Therapies and Treatment Therapies.
I’m raising awareness of this effort because when I think of my childhood it was one full of unbridled physical activity for days on end. It hasn’t changed much even now, I’ve only got better at fueling and resting. As a child you want to just get out and play, run and be active without consideration to the levels of blood sugar in your body.
This is why I’ve donated to JDRF and am also raising awareness through this format and by cycling 160kms in January to support this important cause.
If you think it’s a worthwhile cause and would like to contribute to the investment effort JDRF makes in funding research for type 1 diabetes, then please make a donation here. I’m targeting to raise over $3,500 and appreciate your attention and contribution to help meet the mark.
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