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If we know each other, you probably already got this in email, but I'm posting it here just in case.

Hello,
Please bear with me for a minute. After writing this, I thought for a moment I might be getting over-dramatic.
But how can you be over-dramatic when kids are dying?


This October I'll be taking part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley along with riders from across the country as we try to help the JDRF reach it's goal of curing type 1 diabetes.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 15, 37 years ago. Although I personally would like to see a cure for myself, that's not really why I'm riding for the JDRF.
I've been living with diabetes for a long time. I know I can survive, even be healthy, in spite of it. I'm used to it. But this disease is hard on kids.

In February of this year, a personal hero of mine, Jesse Alswager passed away at the age of thirteen, after 10 years of fighting type 1 diabetes.
When I say fighting, I don't just mean like all of us type 1 diabetics fight, with finger stick blood tests, injections or infusion sets, machines and medicines, counting grams of carbohydrate, thinking through the metabolic effects of every meal, every bit of physical activity, everything....
What I mean is that Jesse was fighting as if he was in a war.
When Jesse was diagnosed at the age of three, his mother, Michelle Alswager, declared war on the disease, and she took her son into battle.
Jesse raised thousands of dollars for the cure, a cure he will never enjoy. Michelle, as a member of the board of directors for several diabetes foundations and an executive at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, was involved in raising millions.
Jesse met governors, Congress members, First Lady Laura Bush. Politicians loved to be photographed with him and talk about him.
I never met Jesse. I wish I had the chance to thank him. He did a lot for me, and all people with type 1 diabetes.

One of the things that Michelle Alswager did to fight diabetes was to come up with the idea of a type 1 diabetic triathlon team, and a documentary about how they could train for and complete an Ironman.
That was how Triabetes began.
Triabetes has had a profound effect on my life, and I know that it has touched many more diabetics out there.
When I first heard that Jesse had died, it knocked the wind out of me. It was more than a little discouraging personally, to learn that the inspiration for Triabetes had died.
The inspiration had died.
Yeah, that's how I felt.
And it was heart-breaking to think that Michelle Alswager, who had worked to spread hope to people like her son, people like me, suffering from type 1 diabetes, had lost her son.
For several hours this was a hope-crushing thought for me.
But now I've decided that it's part of a war. I've been around for the war, but mostly on the sidelines. I have not yet begun to fight.
I have to take to the battlefield now.

I'm riding across Death Valley in honor of Jesse Alswager, and to help the children who now have this disease or will have it in the future.

Also riding will be Michelle Alswager, in memory of her son, and Bob and Jen Nicholson, who lost their 14 year old son Trent to type 1 diabetes in March of this year.

Please go to this page to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation:
http://ride.jdrf.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=rideCentral.personalpage&riderID=9801

Thank you,
Jerry

PS:
See this video to learn more about Jesse:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8yNxqWoasg
Or here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPDS2V1AF9w
Learn more about Michelle Alswager here:
http://www.dlife.com/dlifeTv/v587287464001-michelle-alswager.html
And more about Triabetes here:
http://www.dlife.com/dlifeTv/v14985633001-Triabetes.html

Memorials to Jesse:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessealswager

Memorials to Trent:
http://www.tributes.com/show/Trent-Nicholson-88196543

PPS:
Many employers do charity matching gifts. If you decide to give to the JDRF, please find out if your company will match your gift, and make your contribution count twice as much.

If you want to make a contribution in honor of or in memory of someone, whether they have diabetes or for any other reason, please state that in the "Message for Rider" box in the online contribution form. I will put that person's name on my bib number to wear while I ride across Death Valley. Thank you for the opportunity.


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