Upper St. Clair natives ride to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes
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The challenges encountered on the 250-mile bicycle ride to raise diabetes awareness parallel those faced by people living with the disease, Michael Chadwick says.
Mr. Chadwick, a graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, should know.
He co-founded the ride, called Hope on 2 Wheels, and he has Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called juvenile onset diabetes.
"There are hurdles, and they might slow you down, but there is a way to get through them," said Mr. Chadwick, who now lives in Swedesboro, N.J. The 35-year-old joined his brothers in the ride Saturday from New York City to Bethesda, Md.
His brothers -- David, 40, of Quakertown, Bucks County, and Andrew, 31, of Silver Spring, Md. -- also graduated from Upper St. Clair High School and are the sons of Elizabeth and the late John Chadwick. Mrs. Chadwick now lives in the Philadelphia area.
Michael Chadwick is the only brother who has diabetes.
The goal of Hope on 2 Wheels was to raise awareness of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and, especially, its annual Ride to Cure Diabetes, which will be held at five sites around the country from July through November.
A commitment to take part in one of those rides was the only requirement to participate in Hope on 2 Wheels.
The idea for Hope on 2 Wheels emerged from conversations between Michael Chadwick and event co-founder Scott Kasper on how to increase interest in the Ride to Cure Diabetes. Both men are board members of the South Jersey Chapter of the JDRF.
The Hope on 2 Wheels ride began at 5 a.m. at the New York City headquarters of JDRF. Of the 24 participants, 14 have Type 1 diabetes and 10 have a relative who has the disease.
Type 1 diabetes, which can strike children and adults, is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. It differs from Type 2 diabetes, the more common form, in which the pancreas over time loses its ability to secrete enough insulin.
The Hope on 2 Wheels ride was conducted relay style, with one group of eight bicycling at all times while two groups of eight rode in the support vehicles.
Michael Chadwick explained that 250 miles is too far for amateurs to ride. "By riding 10 to 20 miles at a time, they can keep up the pace so they can finish in daylight," he said.
Each cyclist ended up logging about 105 miles.
Upon reaching the finish line, riders were greeted by about 30 members of the Capitol Chapter of the JDRF with food, drinks and a welcoming banner.
Michael Chadwick, a sales representative for a roofing material manufacturer, said the biggest challenge was managing the logistics of the ride, including the safety of the riders, in the late evening darkness.
Andrew Chadwick, a sound engineer with the Washington, D.C., affiliate of National Public Radio, is a seasoned cyclist who typically rides 20 miles a couple times a week. He had no qualms about the marathon distance.
"I wanted to help my brother out -- he's a guy with a big vision and big heart," he said.
David Chadwick, a truck driver and paramedic, drove one of the passenger vans and served as the problem solver on the road. Family and work obligations had prevented him from training for the ride.
Despite the rigors of a 19-hour trek, he said there was nowhere else he would rather have been.
"The kind of relationship I have with my brothers, I would not have missed it," he said.
First Published June 28, 2012 5:19 am