Welcome to my personal JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes Page, designed for the sole purpose of journaling the annual ride. To the right is a listing of pages, photo-journals for each of the rides I’ve participated in, to date. The smiling woman in the photo is my Bride, Christine. She is the inspiration of this ride endeavor.
Christine is an insulin-dependent Diabetic (known as “Type One Diabetes” or ”Juvenile Diabetes”). She was diagnosed with this disease in the summer of 1997…what is referred to as “Adult-onset” Juvenile Diabetes. We both remember the fateful day of diagnosis. After suffering for months with symptoms of what we later learned were textbook symptoms of Diabetes, the 4th medical professional she conferred with (a Dermatologist, of all things) asked if anyone had tested her for Diabetes. To date, no one had. A simple blood test was done, and her blood glucose level was tested at 585…just a bit above the normal 90-110. Christine called me at work, and less than 3 hours later, an Endocrinologist at the Park Nicollet International Diabetes Center was showing her how to give herself shots…to be taken several times a day, for the rest of her life. Or, until a cure is found. Though it wasn’t until 2004 that Christine & I connected with JDRF, we both found the organization to be the perfect vehicle for the kind of volunteering we could both offer, with a mission statement & vision that made sense. The Ride to Cure Diabetes has become a passion for us both, as cyclists—to be sure—and particularly for Christine who has served as Ride Committee Chair for 6 years, working diligently to help the MN/ND JDRF Chapter team grow in number and, exponentially, in revenue. As you can read in the accompanying annual photo-journal pages, our humble beginnings of just 3 or 4 participants has now expanded to 52 (2012), with assertive growth plans each coming year.
Words cannot begin to describe the Ride experience, bringing several hundred people from across the country together, with a common passion and commitment. Husbands & wives, parents & kids, siblings, relatives, friends, coworkers—everyone—has a story of why they ride. We’ve shared ride weekends with some incredible people, with stories that still pull at my heartstrings. I can tell you, without hesitation, that the 9 Ride weekends I’ve been privileged to participate in have been the most personally-rewarding weekends of my life. One of the many benefits I value with the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program—above & beyond the awesome destinations and the challenge of body & spirit—is that it provides a way for me to show Christine that I do, indeed, acknowledge what she goes through every day in her management of Diabetes, an expression of my appreciation for the great care she takes in keeping this disease in check. She is my hero. Thank you again for finding/reading my Ride Page & Blog.
Matt Jakubowski, Eagan MN
* Header Photo: Starting line…August 2012 Ride to Cure Diabetes, La Crosse WI