Cyclists pedal to find diabetes cure

Posted June 10, 2012 2:56 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2012 11:00 p.m. EDT

— Heading to New York City and across the country, some local bicyclists are riding extreme distances to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes.

Jimmy Dodson has included an insulin pump and glucose monitor as part of his biking gear ever since he was diagnosed with diabetes at age 19.

"When I was diagnosed, we were still in that time frame when everybody said diabetics can't do certain things, so there is a group of Type 1 (diabetes) athletes who all got started basically to prove that mantra wrong," Dotson said.

In two weeks, Dodson and fellow cyclist Andrew Krieman will be part of a group of 24 bicyclists riding 250 miles from New York to Washington, D.C. They want to raise awareness about the disease and money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The duo rode in a similar event in Death Valley, where it was 102 degrees.

"Right now, there is no cure, so these folks like Jimmy Dodson who I am riding with, they have to give themselves insulin to stay alive," Krieman said.

Approximately 3 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, and more than 40 children are diagnosed with it each day. According to JDRF, about 1 in 20 people with the disease will die from low blood sugar.

Personal reasons drive Christiane Johnstone, a competitive cyclist and recent North Carolina State University graduate, to even more extreme feats.

His father was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 9, so Johnstone is cycling across America, from Yorktown, Va., to Oregon, in order to raise $75,000 to find a cure.

"I've just seen the stress it puts on a family," he said. "I just think I might as well do my part and help others out."