LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Dozens of cyclists will strap on their helmets and leave Keeneland for a day-long ride to raise money and awareness in the fight against diabetes.
Christopher Rowe is planning to ride in Lexington's Tour De Cure (Photo: WKYT)
The devastating disease affects thousands of Kentuckians, including a Lexington couple who are determined to live life with passion and strength despite the disease.
A routine health exam changed Christopher Rowe's life forever when he was diagnosed with diabetes.
"I did not expect it at all," Rowe said. "I don't think I'd ever been diagnosed as pre-diabetic."
Looking back now, he remembers symptoms of excessive thirst, uncontrolled weight loss and excessive urination.
"It was a shock. We were really not prepared." Rowe's wife Gwenda Bond said. "I knew it was manageable but it's also scary so you worry the person you love will be overwhelmed."
Rowe found support and help at the American Diabetes Association website and learned of the Tour de Cure cycling event in Lexington. That's when he took up cycling.
"That bike represented hope. It represented power that I had over my own condition," Rowe said.
Exercise is one of the main keys to battling diabetes, and Bond says her husband was proactive when learning of his diagnosis.
"He didn't take his diagnosis laying down," Bond said. "He made himself an expert on diabetes. He took up the cause, started raising money and started going out for training rides."
American Diabetes Association board member Larry Smith says 60 million people have pre-diabetes in the U.S. If many of those people lost just five percent of their body weight and exercise 20 minutes for five times a week, their chances of becoming diabetic would be cut in half.
The strategies to battle the disease are now part of Rowe's repertoire, and he says cycling has given him hope.