Riding for a cure

Published 10:38 pm Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday’s edition of the Suffolk News-Herald featured a story about Helen Gabriel, whose mother died from complications related to diabetes. It was the first in a series of stories about folks who will be riding in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure in Suffolk on April 29.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 29.1 million people in the U.S. — 9.3 percent of the population — has diabetes, with 21 million of them remaining undiagnosed. Another 86 million are classified as pre-diabetic.

The risk of premature death for adults with diabetes is 50 percent higher than for adults without the disease. And, setting aside the risk of death, the economic costs for those who suffer from diabetes are staggering. The CDC estimates that the total medical costs and lost wages for those with diagnosed diabetes is $245 billion. Those with the disease face medical costs twice as high as those without it.

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People with diabetes are at a higher risk of serious health complications, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs.

You can prevent or delay diabetes by losing weight, eating healthy and being more active, doctors say, and those already diagnosed with the disease can manage it by working with and following the directions of medical professionals, by eating healthy and by staying active.

But there are things we can all do to help the American Diabetes Association work to find a cure and to get potentially lifesaving information out to those who are at risk. One of those things is to support the Tour de Cure, much as Gabriel is doing this year.

Gabriel is one of hundreds of people who are expected to ride in the biking event that will leave from and return to King’s Fork High School this spring.

Gabriel has set a fundraising goal of $4,500 this year. Yours doesn’t have to be that high. Riders can participate in the 10-, 25-,60- or 100-mile rides by paying a $25 registration fee and raising just $200 worth of contributions. All of the money raised in this ride supports the ADA’s local efforts.

“I’m reaching out, and I’m going to put the pressure on myself to try to raise between $4,500 and $5,000 this year, all in my mom’s honor and memory,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully we will come up with a cure or something that will help slow down what the results of this disease are.”

Visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour for more information about the fundraiser.