Posted on September 18th, 2017
What a weekend. I’m so glad I don’t start my new job until Wednesday, because this was one of those weekends where you feel totally wiped on Sunday night and I am grateful for time to collect myself!
One of JDRF’s coolest fundraising and community initiatives is their Ride to Cure Diabetes program, an annual series of five weekends in gorgeous locations around the country centered around a 100 mile bike ride. Thousands of people from around the country fundraise and participate each year, and the triumphs are really multifaceted. The riders feel tremendous pride in their personal physical accomplishments out on the course, the whole community celebrates the substantial amount of dollars raised (over $38 million raised through the program to date!), and it is an amazing way to connect people impacted by type one diabetes from all over the country. My family’s first ride was in 2007 when our involvement in JDRF was less official, but our involvement has escalated, and the rides are a big part of our calendar each year. My godparents have gotten amazingly involved, too, and joined us in Saratoga this weekend, too.
While I didn’t train as a rider for this past weekend’s Saratoga event (with moving that was just a bit too much to handle!), Ian and I were so excited to jump in and support while having a great excuse to go to Saratoga. It was wonderful to get to know Saratoga in a sleepier state, separate from the horse racing craziness, and it is an incredibly charming town. Great shopping– I particularly loved Violet’s and the Pink Paddock— and delicious restaurants all along a walkable downtown strip. We also took advantage of Saratoga Spa State Park, which was the perfect place to run a (very flat!!) half marathon on Saturday morning after we sent the riders off shortly after sunrise.
PS Can any botanists confirm whether this is a fading lavender field? It looked like a magic purple field of clouds, but I imagine there is a more technical explanation.
My grandmother had made the journey to Saratoga from St. Louis, too, and the three of us spent most of our time during the Saturday staffed at the finish line, cheering for riders as they returned from the road and making sure they were well taken care of. Over 600 people came through, and the inspirational feeling that permeated each time a rider crossed the finish line never faded throughout the day. Naturally, my highlight was seeing my two parents cross the finish line together. Not their first time, not their last, but I never cease to feel so proud of their accomplishments. I can only hope their grit, determination, and dedication are genetic!
All in all, over $2.7 million was raised this past weekend for diabetes research. We often say that a diagnosis with type on diabetes comes with a silver lining: admission into a very friendly, supportive club that no one really wants to join. This weekend was a great illustration of that– yet another event I leave feeling hopeful for a cure and inspired by people I would otherwise never have met.