It started almost as soon as my Ride to Cure Diabetes effort was complete: friends, new acquaintances and even folks I barely knew started asking me: Can I ride with you next time?
But here was the thing: there wasn’t going to be a next time. I did the Ride for Lauren’s 21st birthday and 15 year diaversary. As I trained and fundraised I thought, “Well I’m always going to enjoy cycling. But I’m not going to do something this all-consuming again.”
Still, folks kept asking. And then the JDRF folks told me people had been asking them how they could get to be part of the amazing experience that was my virtual ride support team. (I’m still blown away by it. Truly).
And like everything in this life with diabetes, I realized I had to make some adaptations to my expectations. I had to be willing to stretch. I had to realize that when we are needed, we must jump.
And so, with a little pushing and a leap of faith, I announce the formation of my own crazy, determined, focused and fun JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes Team.
We’re to be called “Team Outspokin’”. Because we’ll be out .. spoking … and because we’ll be outspoken in our passion to spread the word about the need for a cure. (And because nothing makes me giggle more than puns).
I tell you this because: I want you to join me. We’ll be focusing on the LaCrosse Ride to Cure, which takes place over the weekend of August 16-18. I chose this ride because it’s central, it’s beautiful and it spoke to me for a theme. The ride goes 100 miles along the Mississippi River.
That’s why I’m calling it Team Outspokin’s “River of Dreams Tour.”
This is why you need to consider joining me on the ride (or on another of JDRF’s 2013 rides. You can pick any and still be a part of Team Outspokin’. If you are a long-time JDRF’er looking for a new way to help, join. If you have never doing something big in the diabetes world but wanted to, join. If you know nothing about Type 1 diabetes but want to find a way to focus in a positive way this coming year, join. If you just want to have fun, join. If you are childhood friend, college friend, on-line friend, diabetes community friend, stranger who happens to follow this effort, join. Here’s why:
*Because you can. Listen: a year ago I was petrified. I’d not been on a bike in close to 25 years. I was terrified to ask people to donate. It overwhelmed me. But I did it. And that means you can too. And with doing that will come not only the satisfaction of having made the world a better place, but the personal victory you’ll feel. It’s empowering and that translates to your entire life. Trust me. It really does.
*Because it’s going to be fun and cool. JDRF has honored me with the chance to form the first team of this type. As a part of it you’ll get special coaching conference calls, extra support and lots of fundraising help and support from me. I’m also going to be offering some cool special prizes for my team members (as I used to do back when we had a huge walk team). We’ll have lots of fun experiences, and no matter where we are in the world, we will truly bond as a team. So be ready for some best friends for life to be made. It’s going to happen.
*Because it’s going to be big. We, as a team, will hopefully make an impact ten times what I made as an individual last year. And when you consider that my on-line support page had over a half a million hits, that means we are going to rock not just this ride season, but the world as a whole. That’s just awesome.
*Because this effort is going to be a pilot for something even bigger. I want this team to come together and work together in a way that sets a standard for all future new JDRF Ride teams. To do that I need not just your training and your asking, but your smarts. And you’ll be able to use your skills for very, very good; which can feel great on days when work is a pain.
*Because every day, every hour, every minute, someone is in a crisis that has to do with Type 1 Diabetes. By doing the ride, you are going to remind the mom struggling to give her toddler a shot, the adult shaking off a scary low while in a vital work meeting, the dad fretting as his child heads off to college, the newly diagnosed family wondering how they’ll ever do it – that the world truly cares and that better days are coming. If you don’t have a connection to such a person already, I’ll be making one for you, so you will “ride” for someone in particular as well. What more of a gift can there be than the chance to do that?
*Because there is no such thing as not succeeding in this adventure: ANY effort is a win. Any progress is a victory. You’ll see — its a great feeling to be a part of a team effort like this.
I will be part of a conference call for anyone interested in being a part of Team Outspokin’ in late January. If you are interested in learning more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Team Outspokin’ in the subject line.
Even if you are thinking “maybe,” take the leap of faith and join my team and me. I promise you that when you cross that finish line and you’ve traveled that River of Dreams, you’ll be an even better person than you already are.
Put your foot to the pedal. Join me.