In 2022, Jennifer set a goal to ride her bike 3,000 miles by the end of the year. She completed her 3,000th mile on Christmas Day. That achievement inspired her to keep riding but, this time, with meaning.
“I decided that in 2023, I would give my miles purpose by joining the JDRF Ride team and training for my first 100-mile ride,” she said.
Therapist on Wheels
Jennifer’s daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2021 after becoming critically ill with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Grasping this “new normal” was a challenge. Jennifer started riding her bike to manage the stress that accompanies being a T1D caregiver. “Riding became my therapist and my Zen time while managing the ins and outs of type 1 diabetes care,” she said.
Jennifer was motivated by her dad (pictured with her above), who does an annual birthday bike ride equal to the age he is turning. “Last year, I began training to do the entire metric century (63 miles) with him and fell in love with cycling,” she said. She made many fast friends through JDRF Ride, but her favorite biking companion is still her father.
Riding a Century
JDRF My Ride allows participants the flexibility to choose their location, course, goals, and more. Jennifer’s JDRF Ride team recently hosted a century ride for local JDRF My Ride riders. She was ready for the challenge. “It was my first ever century ride and such a monumental accomplishment,” she said. Her family was there to support her every step of the way. “At the end, my husband and kids drew a finish line in chalk and were waiting for us with signs and celebratory champagne.”
A Positive Outlook
Jennifer makes sure that T1D doesn’t slow her or her daughter down. In fact, her daughter’s role as a JDRF Youth Ambassador has given her a confidence boost. “Type 1 diabetes forced her to grow up very quickly,” Jennifer said. “But it has also given her the grit and determination to fight through life’s ups and downs.”
And while the day-to-day focus is often on her daughter, Jennifer encourages new T1D caregivers to take care of themselves, too. “A T1D diagnosis is life-altering for you and your entire family,” she said. “Seek support and find healthy outlets to be the best T1D parent you can be!”
Sign up today for JDRF My Ride.