Do You Ride Aimlessly Or With Purpose?

This post is a call to action. I need your help to prevent kids dying from a preventable death. Preventing kids from dying from a preventable death is not about charity, it is about the basic human right to life. It is about justice and equality. The short cut to how you can help can be found by clicking on the following link:

HELP KIDS DYING FROM A PREVENTABLE DEATH

The story that follows will move you and I am convinced, once you have read it, you will support by quest to make a difference for kids around the world who are affected by diabetes.

So here we go:

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“How was your ride yesterday?”

“It wasn’t bad but my knee hurt and I just didn’t have any power on the climbs.”

“What’s going on, I thought you prepared well for your training camp?”

“I did, but I have a lot on my mind. In the last few months, I lost my mother to cancer, my son broke his leg in a ski accident, one of my best friends lost his job and hasn’t been able to find a new one, both of my granddaughters have asthma issues and our 24 year daughter moved out of the house because she can’t stand proper parental guidance anymore. Life sucks!”

“Life sucks??? You gotta be joking!!! You need me to define for you what “life sucks” means?”

“Hold on, hold on, I forgot to mention that I have been sick twice in the last two months which has interfered with my training.”

“If you keep going this way you will help me make my case that your life doesn’t suck at all.”

“Uh huh”.

“Really.”

“And not to mention the multiple business trips that have been leaving me tired and sometimes unable to train as hard as I would like, doesn’t that suck?” I am just finding life overwhelming!”

“What you are describing sounds to me like life’s everyday problems. They seem to be shared pretty equally by everyone I’ve ever met, I’d say. The odds are we will all have someone in our family die from cancer. Broken bones heal by themselves, asthma is treatable, young adults acting like teenagers seems to be norm of the new generation (unfortunately) and unemployment can happen to anyone. In other words, if “your” life sucks, then LIFE sucks. People who live a life of injustice and inequality can say that “life sucks”, not you.”

“So here we go…you’re not going to turn this into a political discussion are you?”

“What I’m about to tell you has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with basic human rights.”

“Now you lost me, where are you going with this?”

“Do you know anyone who doesn’t believe in the basic human rights to life, dignity, equality and non-discrimination?”

“Nope.”

“Do you know anyone who doesn’t demand those basic human needs for themselves and their family?”

“Nope.”

“Would you willingly deny to others what you demand for yourself?”

“For sure not, you know me, narcissism isn’t in my blood.”

“Do you believe that it is fair or just that sometimes where someone lives decides whether they live or die?”

“Of course not. That doesn’t sound fair at all.”

“You got it! It is unfair, unjust, unequal. But that is how tens of thousands of kids in Africa live their lives, destined to die just because they live there and not here. Now that sucks, doesn’t it?”

“What are you talking about exactly?.”

“What are the odds a child in your neighbour who gets Type 1 diabetes will go undiagnosed? Close to nil. What about the same child in Rwanda? It is estimated that seven out of eight in that part of the world who have Type 1 diabetes will die before being diagnosed.”

(No response, long silence)

“The kid in your neighbourhood who gets diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, if he manages his disease properly, will have a similar life expectancy as you and I. The one of eight kids in Rwanda who gets diagnosed with diabetes will typically have eleven months to live and will die from a horrible death that will involve kidney failures, amputation and heart problems to name a few.”

(No response, long silence)

“My whole point here is that one child dying from a preventable death is a tragedy and one death too many. When the numbers are in the tens of thousands it is an enormous catastrophe that requires immediate action. Preventing kids from dying from a preventable death is not about charity, it is about the basic human right to life. It is about justice and equality. The medication and medical devices to properly manage diabetes exist and are readily available to anyone in the developed world. Why not in Africa? It’s the exact same disease that requires the exact same treatment as in North America. Diabetes doesn’t discriminate between skin colour, wealth or geography. It’s the same everywhere around the world. If your child gets diagnosed you will have access to doctors, support groups, tons of information on how to best manage his or her diabetes, insulin, test strips and glucose monitors. It will not even cross your mind that the tools for your kid to live a normal life with this life threatening chronic disease might not be available. I have spoken with a lot of North American parents whose kids have Type 1 diabetes and access to the right medical products is never a consideration for them. How can we allow kids in Africa to die from preventable death? How can we allow kids in Africa to die from a disease that rarely kills children anymore in the developed world? How can we allow kids in Africa to die from diabetes just because they were born there as opposed to Canada? How can we deny to others what we demand for ourselves? These kids, they are talking directly to you through me and they are asking you not to deny to them what you would demand for your own kid. They are asking for the right to live.”

“(Long silence)……I never thought I had such a great life. This is awful. I never knew such a problem existed. It sounds truly horrendous. How can I help?”

“As I mentioned earlier, this is not about charity, it is about justice and equality. Doing something meaningful about it will require more than money. We need to educate government, health organizations and key opinion leaders around the world to make this invisible tsunami known. We need to do the same things as we did for HIV-AIDS and get the access to drugs to people suffering with Type 1 diabetes. Over the last few years we saw what can happen when governments, health organizations and influential people from all walks of life work together. They were able to raise the level of awareness about a similar problem, brought pharmaceutical companies together to craft a solution with the result that HIV-AIDS drugs are much more available in the developing world. We need to do the same thing with Type 1 diabetes. It is a significant endeavour and it will take years to have a meaningful impact. In the meantime, we can’t just sit idle and have meetings about a great cause. We need to act on the ground. And that is why in November 2013 our foundation, the Team Type 1 Foundation, brought a million test strips and 900 glucose monitors to Rwanda–enough supply for a year for the children of Rwanda. We need to continue and we need to do more. While we work with government and organizations such as the World Health Organization to effect long term change and sustainable access to insulin and test strips in Rwanda with a view of replicating the model to other African countries we need to continue our work with the children of Rwanda and give them the tools they need to stay alive.”

“You have convinced me. This is a great cause and I want to help; how can I get involved?”

“The best way to help is to support me me in August when I go suffer in the French Alps and the French Pyrenees to help stop the suffering of children with Type 1 diabetes in Africa.”

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My wife and I have been blessed with six healthy children and two healthy granddaughters. Not everyone is as blessed as we are. The reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of children around the world who die of preventable deaths. They die from diseases that my kids would not die from. They only difference between life and death is where they live. Diabetes is such a disease. If your child got diagnosed with diabetes today, he or she would pretty much have the same life expectancy as a kid who doesn’t have diabetes. The life expectancy for a child with diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa is only seven months. 

The link below to my fundraising page explains what I am doing in 2014 to make a difference in the lives of millions of children in third-world countries who are affected by diabetes. Nine months ago I embarked on a long journey to get ready to participate in one of the world’s toughest cycling event available to amateur cyclists: the Haute Route in Europe. From August 24 to September 7, I will be riding over 1,600 kilometers and climbing over forty of the most famous Tour de France mountains.  

Why? To help raise money for the Team Type 1 Foundation. I have set a goal to raise US $14,000 for Team Type 1 Foundation and I would like you to make a donation on this website to help me achieve my goal. Team Type 1 Foundation is a not-for-profit organization pursuing a mission of education, empowerment and equal access to medicine for everyone affected by diabetes. I am one of the founding directors of the foundation. One of our mandates is to help kids in the developing world have sustainable access to insulin, glucose monitors and test strips.

We need to act and act now. That is why in November 2013 our foundation brought a million test strips and 900 glucose monitors to Rwanda–enough supply for a year for the children of Rwanda. We need to continue and we need to do more and I need your help and financial support. 

Preventing kids from dying from a preventable death is not about charity, it is about the basic human right to life. It is about justice and equality. Please support me and donate to the Team Type 1 foundation. Click here.