John Kelley, Board Member and 2018 Ride Chair
“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” Charles Schultz
I will readily admit that I never considered myself a “cyclist.” And I still don’t. My guess is that many of you don’t think of yourselves as cyclists either. In fact, you may even have muttered a few choice words in your car as you’ve navigated past some of those spandex-clad groups on the back roads of New England. The thought of jumping on a bike and riding a 100 miles is about the furthest thing from your mind.
But then, maybe you’ve never heard of the JDRF Ride to Cure. This is the hidden gem of the fundraising events for JDRF, and I’m here to tell you that this event can change your life while helping to make life better for those with T1D.
My quick backstory: Our youngest son, Tommy, was diagnosed in 2009 at the age of 14. Once we all made it through the fog and slog of those first months post-diagnosis, I committed to doing everything I can to raise awareness and support for JDRF. JDRF played such an important role for our family from those early days, and the research they support has provided Tommy with the technology and knowledge to help manage this dreadful disease day in and day out.
I heard about the Ride to Cure and felt some trepidation about riding 100 miles. I didn’t even own a bike! But given what Tommy faces every day, I realized there’s no way I couldn’t take on this challenge. So I bought a bike, saddled up, and finished the 100 miles in Burlington, VT that fall. The outpouring of support and encouragement we received from our family and friends was incredible—everyone wanted to do something to help Tommy, and this was a tangible and meaningful channel.
The Ride to Cure is unlike anything I’ve experienced. A group of strangers, brought together in a common fight, supporting and encouraging one another. Riders with T1D, teens, grandparents, friends. You hear incredible stories, and marvel at what people can accomplish when they put their minds to it.
The JDRF team is at your side throughout the whole process, from help with fundraising, to training, to travel planning and all the ride logistics. There are six rides to choose from and a variety of fundraising levels. You can ride 100 miles or choose a shorter distance—the ride crew will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
I’ll be doing my 6th ride in September, this time in Saratoga Springs. Please join us there or in one of the other beautiful locations. It is a weekend you won’t soon forget—you’ll be inspired, you’ll be making an impact, you’ll be in great shape! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have—feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find one of those gears you haven’t been using.