Speaking of grandsons, the younger brother of Braden Ochs, of whom I spoke here last week, is Tyler Kane Ochs and he has reminded me that I was already late in writing about him when Braden stole the show.
While it doesn’t seem possible that a year has gone by since we last asked readers of this column to help us make a big splash in raising funds to find a cure for diabetes, it’s actually been a tad over a year. Over the last several years we’ve had a family and friends team named for Tyler (Team TKO) that has participated in the American Diabetes Association’s national fundraising event called “Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes.” This year the name has been changed to “Tour de Cure- Diabetes” because a large number of participants said they’d rather ride bicycles for 30 miles or so through the Bluegrass area than simply walk a mile or participate in a 5k footrace through the grounds at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.
This year participants can choose from among all three and I’m guessing upwards of 2,000 participants will choose one or another. Mr. Parkinson and I will most likely sit and watch everybody else, but we plan to make the scene and encourage those who are far more mobile than we tend to be at these events.
I am reminded of an evening back in the 1990s when Loretta and I were having what passed for a late dinner at Arby’s in Berea. A family of six, seated at a table near the back of the dining room, was the only other patrons in the place at that hour.
We had no sooner seated ourselves on the other side of the room when a skinny little girl in a pink jumper, all arms and legs with long twin braids and a pink patent-leather purse and looking straight out of a Norman Rockwell poster, got up from the table and traipsed over to a booth away from their table. She could not have been much over four years old. She proceeded to pull a glucometer and a test strip out of her purse and, totally oblivious to our prying eyes, pricked the tip of a finger and performed a blood sugar test on herself. She glanced back at her mother who nodded approvingly.
I’m reasonably sure my chin was somewhere on my chest by then but neither Mom nor daughter seemed to realize she had a spellbound audience. When she pulled a vial of insulin and a syringe out of the purse, I was on the verge of fainting. She calmly shook the little bottle, uncapped the syringe and, with one eye squinted, proceeded to load it with what I presume was a precisely correct amount of insulin.
“Oh Lord, surely not”, I whispered in total disbelief to Loretta. But the little girl proceeded with deep concentration to stick the needle in her arm and inject the insulin without showing any trace of a flinch or other irritation. To this day that was one of the bravest things I’ve ever witnessed.
Little did we realize at the time that our future was playing out in front of our eyes. We had no idea that our son would soon be learning to test and inject himself like that brave little girl. A few years later, our grandson Tyler was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
I’d like to say that after 20 years of watching our now-adult son and the last six years of watching Tyler face it head-on I’m used to it, but I’m not, nor will I ever be.
By helping sponsor Team TKO in the Tour de Cure you can join the battle to fight this horrible disease. We’d love to have you join us at Keeneland a couple hours after the sun comes up on May 19. Last year, more than 50 readers of this column donated more than $2,500 to support our efforts. During the previous six years we’ve been doing this, you have donated well over $18,000.
If you would like to help sponsor us this year, the easiest way is to go online to tour.diabetes.org and click on “donate” at the top of the page, then click on donate to a participant, type in Ike Adams and that will take you to Team TKO’s page. I will try to update our progress page on the website on a daily basis should you want to check in to how well (or not) we’re doing. Please also note that we probably will not be able to run a follow up reminder in the paper, so please act now if you can help us out.
If you would rather make a paper contribution, simply mail a check made payable to American Diabetes Association with Team TKO on the memo line. Send it to my home address and Tyler and I will turn it in on Tour de Cure Day. My address is Ike Adams, 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.