My name is Bo, a first-time rider. I completed my first century ride at the JDRF Ride in Saratoga Springs, NY. I ride for my daughter, Abigail, who was diagnosed at age 5 and is now 10. Before her diagnosis, we noticed how thin she was getting and that she was drinking tons of water and constantly going to the bathroom. As a mother, I instantly felt this huge, unsettling gut feeling that something is not right. Next thing, we ended up in the emergency room, where we met the diabetes team of doctors and nurses. We felt blessed to be able to have such a wonderful team of healthcare professionals caring for her. That first year and half was the toughest for all of us, but mostly for Abigail. There was a lot of anger and tears, but we got through those tough times and accepted the new norm.
The third year, we decided to attend the JDRF Greater New England TypeOneNation summit. The summit was a great event. Abigail met other kids just like her, and my husband and I met other parents just like us who have kids living with type 1. We visited many booths and the one that stood out in particular and piqued my interest was the Ride table. Of course, I didn’t sign up right away. I knew I wasn’t ready to make that commitment but always had it in the back of my mind.
In January 2022, I was ready to make that commitment! I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into signing up for a century ride, not knowing anything about cycling. All I know is that I am doing this for Abigail and for a great foundation. I wanted to show Abigail and kids like her that we are capable of conquering anything if we put our minds to it.
After eight months of training and working with our local coaches I was ready to ride 100 miles for the first time. Ride week, I was excited, nervous, and anxious all at once. I met a lot of wonderful people during the three-day event, including riders who have type 1 and riders who are parents just like me who have kids with type 1. I also met a lot of other great coaches.
Race day was upon us! Abby, my husband, and my son were manning station two. They were great passing out drinks and keeping the morale up for all the riders! Cowbells! More cowbells. The coaches were amazing throughout the ride. I never felt lost once because there are so many coaches that help guide and direct you during the ride.
After finishing my first century ride, I wanted to be even more involved with JDRF. My son and I decided to volunteer, passing out food and drinks for walkers for the JDRF One Walk in Boston. We both had a great time helping out, setting up the food, and working at the second rest stop.
This coming year, I will be having my wonderful husband join me for his first century ride. We can’t wait to ride together with the JDRF Greater New England Chapter team!
-Bopha (Bo) Toun
Ride with Us!
Registration for the 2023 JDRF Ride season opens at noon on Wednesday, January 18 at ride.jdrf.org. We’re thrilled to announce the 2023 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes schedule below, which kicks off in our own backyard in Burlington, VT! We hope you will join the Greater New England Ride Team at one of these five locations.
Burlington, VT | July 27-30
La Crosse, WI | August 10-13
Grand Rapids, MI | September 7-10
Death Valley, CA | October 12-15
Amelia Island, FL | November 30-December 3
JDRF My Ride | Your Ride, Your Way, Your Day