I’m a red rider.

I’m riding my bike for a cure on April 12 in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. Diabetic cyclists who ride in the tour to raise money for diabetes are called red riders.

This is my second tour and the first time I rode in it changed my life. The tour is all about supporting people with diabetes and it’s held in major cities nationwide. Last year’s event more than 65,000 cyclists in 89 events raised more then $26 million to support the mission of ADA, which is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. Most people can say they know someone who has diabetes.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been insulin dependant (type 1) since 1989. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone unlocking the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. Latest statistics estimates 5-10 percent of Americans have type 1. However, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of the disease. Type 2 usually results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. The disease is an ongoing challenge and a constant battle. Riding my bike to raise money for a cure is the least I can do. Every time I put on my helmet and click my shoes on my bike, I think about my ride in 2012. My husband, my friend Anica and I rode 43 miles that day. My first hour out I cried because around every corner someone was cheering me on saying, “Go red rider!” On every corner I passed was a red and white sign saying “we’re riding for a cure.” Other than within my immediate family’s love and support, I’ve never felt so encouraged. The ride helped me learn to train and keep a lofty goal ahead of me. 

My point is this—if you love someone who struggles daily with this disease and especially if you’ve lost someone you love to diabetes—support the cause. I’m aware there are many, many worthy foundations to support. But with so many Americans fighting the battle every day, it’s a cause worth supporting.