I honestly don’t remember what it was like living with diabetes when I was first diagnosed, I remember little bits and pieces but not the day to day struggle. When I first met “Rose” it was just after the Rhode Island Tour de Cure, I had just ridden 100 miles and here is this seven year old girl that is in awe because I had ridden a crazy distance with diabetes. “Rose” was diagnosed at the age of two and when we first met she was using a pump and was already learning the ins and outs of the pump. I took a few photos and had a nice chat with her about diabetes, I had no clue how much she looked up to me. As time would go on my wife and I would run in to “Roses” family and we always talked about diabetes and how we would have to meet up for dinner. At this past year’s tour I had a better idea of what I meant to “Rose” and how much she looked forward to the tour. I remember getting to about the 90 mile mark of my ride and getting this surge of energy because I wanted to finish before “Rose” and be at the finish line when she crossed the line with her father after they had done the 15 mile ride. I was able to accomplish my goal of being at the line when they arrived.
Last night was one of those nights that changed my life. Seeing a nine year old girl in control of her diabetes is just amazing. I definitely did not have the knowledge of my disease when I was at her age. Before we made our plates for dinner, she pointed out to me that she had sat down with her father and made a sticky note with all of the carbs for the serving size of each dish. As her and I tested I made a bet with her, if she had a better blood sugar than I I’d buy her a little gift. I got my butt handed to me, I was at 220 and her blood sugar was almost 100pts lower than mine. Not only was my blood sugar not where I wanted it but I was out ten bucks!!! The dinner was amazing, but the conversation and watching “Rose” with her pump and her knowledge I was now in awe of her. I can’t put in to words how happy and proud I was, I know the struggles of the disease all too well, when I see a child with that determination at such a young age it makes me feel better that more than likely she will never see the side of diabetes that I saw for ten years.
I often say that I’m on borrowed time when it comes to my life. Diabetes should have won, somehow I’m still here. Seeing what I saw last night makes me so happy that I’m still alive, with all of the fundraising and speaking that my wife and I do for diabetes it’s not for me. I’m not trying to make diabetes easier or find a cure for myself; I’m doing it for all of the people like “Rose” that don’t deserve to have the disease. It pains me so much to see a young child with diabetes; even if they’re in perfect control I know the toll that it takes on not only on the person with the disease but also the friends and family. I’m determined to do all I can so “Rose” can have a much easier life with or without diabetes.