On October 7, 2017, fourteen Greater Chesapeake and Potomac bicyclists gathered in Amelia Island, Florida for the 2nd Annual JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes.
Liz Maxwell-Schmidt (First time rider and physician from Edgewater, MD)
Liz is a first time rider whose connection to JDRF came with her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 53. Thanks to a gift from her nephew, she picked up a copy of the Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook, which led her to Diabetes Training Camp. The camp provided an opportunity to learn management of diabetes through exercise and a wide variety of physical activities. She was soon participating in local 5K and 10K runs, and these empowering and positive experiences led her to learn cycling, which eventually brought her to Amelia Island.
Liz joined a group of cyclists and they all decided to do the JDRF Ride in Amelia Island. Her first challenge was a fear of fundraising, which thankfully she overcame. She was joined in the ride by her husband who was honoring his late father, who had T1D, as well as supporting Liz. The experience was “like a date” at Amelia Island, giving them an opportunity to learn about JDRF together.
Only two weeks before the ride, Liz fell off her bike, injuring her shoulder and fracturing her pelvic bone, but she was determined to push on and complete her goal. Remarkably, she rode the entire 100 miles! According to Liz, the hardest part of the ride was the last 28 miles. Amelia Island was quite warm that day and the road had very little shade. The heat, humidity and wind made it challenging. However, Liz explains, “One of the beautiful things was a JDRF Cycling Team. Their system really worked. There was a lot of support at the JDRF Ride which made it physically doable.”
Karrie McMillan (DC Board President from McLean, VA)
Another first-time rider is Karrie McMillan, current DC board president, who has volunteered with JDRF since her son Liam was diagnosed in 2010 at the age of 10. Through her involvement with JDRF, Karrie heard a lot about how much fun the rides were from others at JDRF, and that was all the motivation she needed to sign up.
With very little time to train, she believed she might only be able to do the 26 mile course, but she ended up riding 55 miles. While this accomplishment is rewarding enough, Karrie stated that the most rewarding thing about the ride is, “knowing that I’m keeping my promise to my son to do everything possible to find a cure for T1D.” She also encourages anyone and everyone with any interest at all to try it.
“You will be well supported in terms of coaching, fundraising and moral support. The weekend is a giant pep rally, and it was absolutely amazing to see people gathered from all over the country, dedicated to finding a cure for T1D,” she explained.
Lyndall Hauver (winner of the “Yellow Jersey” – Top Recruiter in Amelia Island from Towson, MD)
Riding in her second ride, Lyndall and her family first got involved with JDRF when her son, Will, was diagnosed in 2007. After his diagnosis Lyndall and her family created an event involving paddle tennis/platform tennis, a pub crawl in the fall, and they also attended the Gala each November. Sadly, in February of 2015, Will, a student at the time at Rollins College, passed away due to diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of the flu. He was 22.
In 2016, Lyndall and her daughter Megan decided to join the JDRF Ride Team. They decided to ride in Greenville, SC because Lyndall’s youngest son Tommy was a senior at Furman University in Greenville. Unbeknownst to them, the Greenville event was one of the hardest rides, since it was in the mountains and a part of a “Hincapie” event involving professional riders. After finishing the 15 miles, they decided the rest of the family needed to ride the next year.
Lyndall signed herself, Megan, Tommy, and her husband Bob up for the Amelia Island Ride, and to her surprise, five more friends decided to join her on the Ride. Because of this tremendous support of friends and family, Lyndall received the Top Recruiter Yellow Jersey the night before the ride.
During the hot (94), humid (95%), but beautiful ride, Lyndall and her team rode well past their goal of 26 miles, despite not training and having to ride with no shade against the wind. They completed the 55 mile course with one rider going the full 102 miles. Overall, Lyndall stated that “it was an incredible experience to see almost 500 riders, who raised close to $2 million dollars all to make type one type none,” and she is motivated for next year.
Written by Communications Committee member Laura McBride