Lawrence ‘Rick’ Phillips, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1974 and diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1999. Rick writes about his experiences with both diseases on his blogs RADiabetes.com and CreakyJoints.org. You can connect with him on Twitter @LawrPhil.
On June 4, 2016, I rode my bicycle as a member of Team Lilly at the 25th annual Tour De Cure at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As I rode my bike around the wet course, I was inspired to reflect on my past, present and hope for the future. At times it felt like I wasn’t alone on the track. Instead, I felt like I was pedaling with the loved ones who have been by my side throughout my journey with diabetes.
I’m part of history.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is steeped in the history of tremendous feats of speed, but the history I felt during my ride was more personal. I felt the spirit of my mother and aunt, both now passed, who lived with Type 1 diabetes in the 1940s, 60s, 70s and 80s. I thought of my mother who suffered such terrible complications as a result of diabetes. I felt like these two women were there pushing me, even though the rain soaked us that day.
It is because of the sacrifices of my mother, my aunt and countless others that I celebrated my 42nd diaversary on June 21st. My mother and aunt supported the American Diabetes Association because they believed that research and technology would someday make the lives of people with diabetes better. Because of their efforts, I now live in that time.
I have hope.
As I rode around the track, I also felt hope for the future of Madison, Graham and Benjamin, my three grandchildren. I found myself wishing for a world where they or their children will never know Type 1 diabetes. I prayed that they would never feel insulin injections or the emotions related to diabetes.
With each stroke of the pedal, I believed I was somehow putting distance between diabetes and those three children I love so dearly. I know how much diabetes has changed my life, and I want their lives to be unaltered by diabetes. I am hopeful that each dollar I raise will bring us closer to living better with diabetes. Like my mother and aunt, I believe people with diabetes will live better as a result of research and technology. Because of people who support efforts like the Tour de Cure, we are making life with diabetes better than ever before.
I am grateful.
The day after the ride, I had difficulty moving around because of Rheumatoid Arthritis but it was a victory to participate in the 2016 Tour de Cure. I was grateful to pedal a bicycle around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway supporting the efforts of the ADA. I’m grateful for how far we’ve come in making life better for people with diabetes, and I’m even more grateful for the victories that I know are yet to come.