Chris Radford is grateful he is able to experience a father-and-son event, thanks to his son Scott’s current ability to control his Type 1 diabetes. Chris hopes to help others enjoy the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) 100-mile bike ride as well as help fund a cure for diabetes.
The younger Radford was diagnosed with the most severe version of the disease as a young boy. Today he controls it with an insulin pump, but will continue to face possible life-threatening effects.
Seeing the devastating effects of diabetes made Chris determined to do his part to find a cure. Last year he organized the first annual Family Fun Day Poker Walk/Run/Ride on the new Cannon Township Trail, starting at Cannon Township Hall, 6878 Belding Road. Participants travel the trail their preferred way, walking, running or biking, and pick up poker cards at stations. Those with the best hands win.
“Everybody left with something,” said Radford of the first annual event. This year there are even more reasons to play-donations to date top $5,000 worth in prizes.
The cost for a hand of poker is a minimum donation of $25, but the prizes are great. Grand prize is a $400 Giant Sedona bike from Village Bike and Fitness with a first prize of $100 to The Runnery. Many merchants have donated prizes, and the first 100 participants to sign up get a family pack with goodies.
Last year about 50 people turned out to the spring event, and $1,500 was raised for the JDRF. This year, with over $5,000 in prizes to give away, Radford is hopeful of an even better turnout. The event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18, rain or shine.
“We were looking at the calendar to find out what weekends don’t have events in Rockford,” he said. “After May, forget it.”
Radford and his son raised the required $4,000 each to participate in Ride to Cure Diabetes. Spending time together on the 100-mile ride through either Death Valley or Killington, Vermont, is a wonderful experience. Other participants have also been touched by the disease, which affects over three million people with 40 new children diagnosed in the country each day.
“Four thousand dollars is a lot to raise,” said Radford. For two people, it would be $8,000. That can be daunting.” He hopes to be able to offer a scholarship where a parent of a diabetic child could raise the $4,000, and be granted the second amount-all going to the JDRF.
Radford is passionate about finding a cure and described the “roller coaster” of trying to regulate his son’s insulin level. With Type 1 diabetes, a person eventually is unable to produce any insulin at all. Scott currently uses a pump, the size of a pager, which continuously infuses insulin into his body through a connected injection site.
Although it has helped tremendously, it is not a cure. Scott may still face other potentially devastating effects, including kidney failure, nerve damage, limb amputation, blindness, heart attack and stroke. The disease’s devastating nature make the time spent together on the annual ride that much more precious, as is the experience of riding with others in the same situation.
In addition to the prizes in the poker run, there will also be auction items. Among the donations are gift certificates and gift baskets from Dam Dogs, Kimberly’s, Great Northern Trading Company, Baskets in the Belfry, D&W, Ric’s Food Center, Village Bike, Sam’s Joint, Red’s on the River, Bangz, the Corner Bar, Aunt Candy’s Toy Store, Right at Home, Eric Brown Glass, Rockford Flooring, Timbers, Pizzeria Grandé and too many more to list.