Cycling for a cause: Clark man bikes 26 miles to raise funds for Type 1 diabetes research
Published 8:23 am Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Chad Burkhart, a communications officer with the Winchester Police Department, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 6 years old.
For 36 years, Burkhart has worn an insulin pump to keep his glucose levels in check. Treatment of the disease has changed radically during his life, and that is part of why he works with others to help support local diabetics and raise funds for national research.
“The technology from the day I was diagnosed to now has jumped by leaps and bounds,” he said. “It’s because of those funds, the technology has been able to jump as much as it has.”
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Burkhart recently completed a 26-mile bicycle ride in Amelia Island, Florida, which raised money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“We had to raise the money to ride,” he said. “I chose to raise $2,500. That paid for my meals down there, but the rest went to JDRF.”
In all, 480 people rode in the event, with about 180 of those being Type 1 diabetics, he said.
The ride was the first week of October, and Burkhart had been training since March with the goal of riding 55 miles.
“I’d ride around Winchester, the neighborhoods, College Park and downtown alleys,” he said. “The difference between training here and going to Florida is there’s hills here. It built up my endurance. Down there, I had to pedal continuously.”
The goal changed once Burkhart was on the bicycle in Florida.
“It was very hot and humid that day,” he said. “I had a decision to make at mile 26. My mind was telling me ‘You can do it’ but my body wasn’t.”
Initially, Burkhart was only planning on going the one time, because raising the money to go was such a personal challenge.
“When I got there and saw what JDRF is doing, I decided to do it again and again,” he said. “They are getting really close to a cure with some of the research they are doing. It has to do with stem cells. They’re also funding projects like insulin pumps and the technology behind them.”
The bicycle ride isn’t Burkhart’s first involvement with helping diabetics.
In 2015, he helped form Type 1 of Clark County with Suzanne Palmer.
“It’s to raise awareness and to raise funds for JDRF,” he said. “It’s to get other diabetics together, to help newly-diagnosed diabetics and those who are struggling.”
Burkhart is already planning for next year’s ride and to increase Kentucky’s representation at Amelia Island.
“I am planning on putting together a team for next year,” he said. “I’m starting right now to recruit other cyclists, whether they have diabetes or not, to go and do this ride.”
For more information, contact Burkhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.