Farrell Will Cycle 100 Miles To Help Cure Type I Diabetes

Patrick Farrell is a man on a mission. On August 8, Farrell, Instructor in Mathematics, will cycle 100 miles for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Ride to Cure Diabetes 2008. With a close friend,, Farrell will ride with about 200 other cyclists to raise funds for research to find a cure for juvenile (Type 1) diabetes. Almost a decade ago, Farrell faced a tough reality when a close family member was diagnosed with juvenile (Type 1) diabetes. In response to an impending transition in his family and the recent diagnosis of a close friend’s daughter, Farrell decided to take part in the ride to show his support for the challenges those with diabetes must face and to also help find a cure. He said, “I haven’t done anything in a while. The diagnosis of my friend’s daughter just made me realize that families everyday are having kids diagnosed … the news of her diagnosis brought back a flood of memories.” Although the JDRF offers several locations to participate in the ride, scheduling difficulties limited Farrell to Asheville, North Carolina. Situated in the Smoky Mountains, Farrell’s course will cross the Appalachia region. Attractions, such as the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private residence designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, will be scattered throughout his trip. Even though Farrell was given the option of shorter rides, he readily chose the most difficult one. “I’ve always been attracted to endurance challenges, and this ride seemed like a natural way to combine that particular endurance while making a difference,” he said. Farrell continued, “There is no way to imitate the energy necessary to take care of yourself as a diabetic. We are really working hard to keep them healthy.” In 1970, parents of children with type 1 diabetes founded JDRF. Since then, JDRF has donated $1.16 billion to diabetes research. Farrell described JDRF as a “wonderful resource,” as at least 80 cents for every dollar donated goes towards diabetes research. Since his family member’s diagnosis, Farrell has been actively participating in events directed toward spreading awareness and raising funds for diabetes. With his family, Farrell also attended a congress in Washington D.C. on type 1 diabetes and organized a walk to raise money in his former hometown of Presque Isle, Maine. While both events were JDRF sponsored, Farrell’s walk raised over $10,000 for the foundation. Farrell, remaining optimistic, will hopefully accomplish the arduous task of raising at least $3,500 for his ride this summer. In juvenile (Type 1) diabetes, insulin, a hormone necessary to breakdown food for energy, is absent. While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, a disease in which a person’s immune response works against its own tissues or cells, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body is unable to process insulin. As opposed to type 2 diabetes, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Although he does not have much experience cycling, Farrell said, “I’m going to talk with some of the students on the cycling team and meld my experience with advice from some of the students.” For now, however, Farrell will strive to maintain his current strategy of “going slow and staying healthy.”