By Khalida Sarwari
While no single organization can rid the world of diabetes, two groups are coming together next month to try and curb the epidemic through exercise and a little bit of fun.
Lions Clubs International and the American Diabetes Association are holding the inaugural Ride4Diabetes, an eight-hour walking, hiking and cycling event supporting diabetes research, prevention, treatments and cure. The event takes place Aug. 26 at De Anza College in Cupertino and is open to all residents in the region.
“We want to cure diabetes. We want to improve the treatment of diabetes. We’re advocates of preventing the disease,” said Kent Vincent, event chairman and a member of Lions Club International. “It’s a crippling, fatal disease. We’re trying to help people live better lives.”
The disease, according to Vincent, is predicted to strike one in three Americans born today and is caused primarily by leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor dietary habits. Such a lifestyle leads to muscles that become insulin-resistant, resulting in chronically high glucose blood levels, the biological cause of diabetes, he said.
The worst part, Vincent said, is that the onset of diabetes typically is without any visible warning, and a lot of people don’t become aware that they have the disease until experiencing major cardiovascular or neurological health issues.
“Diabetes is a silent disease,” he said. “One out of four Americans is prediabetic and doesn’t know it, and they will become diabetic if it’s not managed typically within five to 10 years.”
It seems that Ride4Diabetes was fashioned after the cycling benefits held by the American Diabetes Association for well over two decades. All proceeds raised through the event will go toward the cause, said Vincent, with the funds to be split evenly between the American Diabetes Association and Lions Club International. Programs standing to benefit include the Association’s research institute, camps for young patients and initiatives targeting complications that arise from diabetes, such as blindness.
“It’s a broader set of things, so you’re increasing the chance, I guess, that there’ll be a cure found, because you’re providing research for more places,” Vincent said. “It’s two organizations that have different programs, but the same goal.”
Ride4Diabetes will feature five routes along the Peninsula for 90K, 60K, 18K and 5K rides and a 7K walk. Some of the routes include the Skyline Ridge Loop, the Portola Valley Loop and Stevens Creek Trail.
“We’ve built a diabetes fundraiser around the kind of thing that people should be doing themselves to prevent diabetes, so that’s why it has some symbolism to it,” Vincent said. “I like to say to prevent diabetes, ride and walk; to cure diabetes, walk and Ride4Diabetes.”
Still, the event won’t be all legwork and no play. In addition to the walk and cycling, it will include educational segments such as an expo on how to fight the disease and a screening with credentialed diabetes practitioners to help identify those at risk. Both are free and open to the public.
There will also be a celebratory post-ride and walk beer and wine festival with lunch for all participants and volunteers in De Anza College’s Sunken Garden, featuring Ridge Vineyards and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and entertainment by Cupertino’s Grateful Dads. Professional Bay Area sports cheerleader Krazy George will emcee.
Individuals, teams and families are invited to sign up on the Ride4Diabetes website at ride4diabetes.org. Registration is open even on the morning of the event, but participants will be asked to pay the regular fee as well as a tax-deductible pledge fee, which for adults is $25 with a minimum $200 pledge and for juveniles under 15 is $10 with a minimum $50 pledge.
The event takes place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. All cyclists and walkers are asked to assemble in parking lot A. Volunteers are also welcome.