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A Relentless Spirit

JDRF advances type 1 diabetes research and spreads the joy of cycling through the Ride to Cure Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects approximately 1.25 million Americans at all different ages—from children to adults. It strikes suddenly without warning, usually causing extreme thirst, weight loss, increased hunger, blurry vision, lethargy, and it does not go away. For an unknown reason—not diet or lifestyle, as is the misconception—the pancreas suddenly fails to produce insulin, a hormone needed to receive energy from food. At this moment, there is no method for prevention or cure for the disease.

JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the leading global organization funding T1D research, has been working tirelessly for the past 47 years to advance T1D research, and they have made great strides in discovering ways to better manage T1D. However, there’s still much work to be done before a cure is found.

Brian Herrick, manager of marketing and communications for JDRF, explains what motivates JDRF to continue searching for a cure: “If you think back to the 70s, 80s, 90s, there would be one or two new developments a year. Now, there are tools available that were inconceivable to me just a few years ago. More has happened in the last five years than in the past 30. It’s encouraging to see the precipitous rate at which research is happening.”

JDRF hosts a variety of programs and events to raise awareness about T1D. The Ride to Cure Diabetes is one of the most far-reaching programs, with 2000 riders participating this year. The Ride to Cure is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels who commit to fundraising for JDRF. In exchange, JDRF provides the cyclists with resources and support to reach their goal mileage at their choice of five rides across the United States.

“At its core, though, the ride isn’t about the miles,” explains Herrick. “It’s about our mission and the impact we’re making to help find a cure. Most cyclists have a direct connection to T1D—whether they have it, their child has it, their spouse or a friend—and they find support from the organization and each other. Each Ride to Cure weekend ends up feeling like a big family reunion.”

For 14 years, JDRF has worked with Hincapie Sportswear to produce their apparel for the event.

“JDRF was one of our first accounts,” says Drew Hincapie, custom program and product director for Hincapie Sportswear. “As their organization has grown, our company has grown along with them. We went from producing a few jerseys to now producing a variety of apparel in a large range of sizes, also handling their fulfillment for the multiple chapters across the United States. It’s been rewarding to see their growth and to work with an organization that has such an admirable mission.”

Alyson Levine, National Director of JDRF, Ride to Cure Diabetes, elaborates: “Hincapie has given us the same, unwavering support from when we started our partnership 15 years ago with just a couple hundred riders, to where we are today, with more than 2,100 riders. They have shown incredible service through the years to our individual participants and our Chapter teams, while making every rider look amazing in custom Hincapie apparel. They understand that the JDRF Riders are a family, and Hincapie continues to treat us like we are part of theirs.”

Learn more about the 2017 JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes.