I decided to do the Tour de Cure this year. It’s a 2 day bike tour from San Antonio to San Marcos day 1 and San Marcos to Austin day 2 to raise money to help stop diabetes and further the mission of the American Diabetes Association- to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all those affected by diabetes.
Unfortunately, diabetes has had a pretty big impact on my life. I am not diabetic, but my great uncle, my grandmother, and my dad all had/have diabetes. Concern about diabetes is a big part of why I started working out and eventually doing triathlons. With such a strong family history of diabetes, a lack of exercise and/or a few extra pounds and I could easily become diabetic.
My great uncle Jim is a pretty typical example of how horrible diabetes can be. He lost his sight, then a leg and finally his life to diabetes. Uncle Jim was a big guy, I remember thinking he was a giant when I was a little kid, and he gave the most awesome rib crushing bear hugs, seriously you had to take a deep breath and get ready for an Uncle Jim Hug, but they were the best, I definitely miss Uncle Jim and his hugs.
I was very close to my Grandma Dona growing up and she had diabetes ever since I can remember (I think she was diagnosed before I was born). It never seemed like a big deal to me until one evening when I was in jr. high. I was talking with Grandma and she told me “Heather, don’t wait until you’re retired to travel and do fun things, I waited and thought your grandpa and I would travel and have fun when we retired, but now I can’t do most of the things I always wanted to do”. I don’t think I realized it until then, but my grandma had a lot of health complications from diabetes that really limited the things she could do. That conversation really got to me and at that point in jr. high I decided I would live a healthier lifestyle to try to avoid diabetes and the other health problems that affected my grandma. Grandma Dona died of heart problems and kidney failure directly related to diabetes in 2004.
My dad has had diabetes for a few years now. He has made a lot of small changes that help him control the disease, but I would so love to see him completely overhaul his diet and exercise habits and seriously kick diabetes out of his life forever, (or at least keep it under super tight control) before he has to deal with some of the long term effects of diabetes that my Uncle Jim and Grandma Dona had to deal with. I know when he puts his mind to it, he will do it (I get my stubbornness from my dad!). But I also know that lifestyle change is something every individual has to do on his/her own terms and timeline.
So in honor of my Uncle Jim, my Grandma Dona, and especially my dad, I am raising money for the American Diabetes Association and riding in the Tour de Cure on May 22 and 23. If you would like to donate you can go here. And thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far!!