In T1D, the pancreas stops producing insulin—a hormone the body needs to get energy from food. This means a process your body does naturally and automatically becomes something that now requires your daily attention and manual intervention. If you have T1D, you must constantly monitor your blood-sugar level, inject or infuse insulin through syringes or a pump, and carefully balance insulin doses with your eating and activity throughout every moment of every day.
However, insulin is not a cure for diabetes. Even with the most vigilant disease management, keeping blood sugars within a very precise range is difficult and unchecked high blood-sugar levels lead to long-term cardiovascular damage. This places people with T1D at risk for potentially life-threatening hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes as well as devastating long-term complications such as kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation.
The Piserchio family was heartbroken upon discovering Joseph's condition. Stress and guilt burdened Joseph's parents. They were convinced that Joseph’s diagnosis was their fault. Pediatric Endocrinologists who care for Joseph ensured them that no one was at fault for the disease.
Understanding how to manage Joseph's condition was a difficult transition for the family. They learned how to inject insulin and count carbohydrates, set strict time schedules for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and began eating a healthier diet similar to Joseph’s. Today, Joseph injects himself four times a day to eat.
Last fall, John, Joseph’s big brother, became motivated to take action. "I wanted to help in a way that was meaningful to me and my family", said John.
He decided he would start a fundraiser for Type-1 Diabetes while doing something he loves: Cycling through New Zealand. John inspired the people around him with his goal, and recruited his childhood friend and athletic colleague, Matt Valentin.
John and Matt are teaming up with JDRF, the leading global organization funding Type-1 Diabetes research to fundraise and hopefully one day find a cure for T1D, while making a healthy and positive impact in the world.
Together, John and Matt will set forth on February 12th, 2018, and fly out of JFK International Airport to Auckland International Airport. Their adventure will officially begin on February 15th, also referred to as "Day 1", where they will start their cycling tour together in Auckland, NZ and aim to end in Queenstown, NZ, on April 12th.
John and Matt are excited to bike through Mt. Taranaki National Park, Tongariro National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Mount Cook National Park, and Fiordland National Park, among other notable landmarks. They aim to bike over 2,000 miles/3,500 kilometers.
John and Matt’s plans for accomodations include camping outdoors 3-5 nights per week, and reserving hostel/backpackers 1-2 days per week. They have budgeted $30 per day on food, and they will utilize a jetboil to prepare warm meals and drinks.
All proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to JDRF.
All donations are encouraged and thanked, no matter how small. If each one of John and Matt's Facebook Friends contributed as little as 1 dollar, they would reach nearly half of their goal.
Follow John and Matt's adventure on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter , and please donate, share, or spread awareness of T1D; An often misunderstood and complicated disease. Thank you so much for all of your support!
- Kenji Okamoto
- Megan Elizabeth
- Kolby Miller
- Katie Lacasse
- Pradeep Mahtani
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