This year marks the 25th anniversary of two American Diabetes Association® signature fundraising events—Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® and Tour de Cure®.
Every dollar raised at these events supports people living with diabetes and funds our life-changing research and programs.
The “25 Legends” blog series highlights personal stories from some of the Association’s most dedicated walkers and riders who are affected by the disease.
My family has been participating in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes since 1995, soon after I was diagnosed. Our team is called Team In Motion (TIM). I was the first person in my family to be diagnosed with diabetes—my younger sister has been diagnosed since—and we were looking for a way to be in touch with others who shared the same personal and family experiences with the disease.
Diabetes has impacted many aspects of my life. The daily burdens associated with the disease are frustrating, but in a way, I enjoy the challenge of it. I am determined to lead the best, most active, most fulfilling life I can, and I am too stubborn to let type 1 diabetes get in the way. I play sports and enjoy weight-lifting, hiking and cooking healthy meals. And even though diabetes makes some of that a little more challenging, it has also made me understand the importance of maintaining my health. Following a healthy lifestyle helps me manage my blood glucose and makes me feel better overall.
I have always felt great after finishing a Step Out walk. Being involved early on helped me understand the importance of having a supportive community and following a healthy lifestyle. Participating in the walks helped me form these good habits.
The walk itself is exciting, but the sense of community there is the best part. Step Out provides the unique opportunity to connect with others affected by diabetes, and it is nice to know that others are going through the same thing as you on a daily basis.
My favorite memory from the walk was winning the top fundraising trophy when I was very young. I remember telling my mother I wanted to win, and she said, “Well, that will probably go to the bigger companies that have a lot of people fundraising for them.” I was a little disheartened at first, but after a few weeks of rallying our friends, family, neighbors and colleagues, we ended up winning! We spent several weekends walking around our neighborhood telling people about the event and why they should support the American Diabetes Association. Educating people about the cause was a rewarding experience, and getting our name on the trophy was pretty cool.
My younger self would have said that my family’s biggest accomplishment was winning that fundraising trophy, but now I’d say it is the great feeling of getting everyone together to support people affected by diabetes.
Step Out walks are a great opportunity to meet others who are passionate about stopping diabetes, and I plan to continue supporting the American Diabetes Association. If you’re looking to connect with the diabetes community, my advice is to gather up as many friends and relatives as you can and go for it!
Together, we CAN Stop Diabetes.
The Association is so grateful for our 25 Legends! Their tireless efforts as walkers and riders are a tremendous support and inspiration to people with diabetes.