Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Exciting News

Researchers from Harvard University, using a type of gene therapy, have successfully caused pancreatic exocrine cells to change to insulin produced Beta cells in mice. This means that mice with Type 1 diabetes were able to produce insulin on their own, just like mice without diabetes. The possibilities for eventual human uses are very exciting. If the scientists can get this procedure to work in humans then people with Type 1 would no longer need to take insulin. This therapy would not only cure their diabetes it would also reverse the disease. It will be years before this becomes ready for humans, but the possibility of an end to diabetes is now one step closer.
Here is a link to the full article in the on-line journal Nature. You can also read about the study in the Fall 2008 issue of JDRF's Countdown magazine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Greeting from our family to yours. In this case our family has been rendered as Christmas cookies. From left to right: Tom, Mary, Colleen, Jake (dressed as Teddy Roosevelt) and Ian (note the "R" for Rockford on his chest). Have a blessed holiday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Film work progressing

We have been editing the movie off and on for the past couple of weeks. It's difficult this time of year finding the time between paying gigs and holiday festivities. But things are going well and we are still looking for an early 2009 release.
In other news, I will be doing a presentation about the film for the Rotary North group of Grand Rapids on December 30. The plan is to show the trailer and talk about making a documentary film here in west Michigan. The only problem is that it's a breakfast meeting and I am known for not being real lucid before 10:00 a.m.
Also, fund raising has started for our 2009 ride in Vermont. Although the on-line donation system is still a couple of months from being ready we will accept good old fashioned paper checks and of course, cash. Remember that all donations and any proceeds from the "More Than 100 Miles" movie go to help find a cure for diabetes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

So what do we ride in the winter?

Many of the members of our JDRF Ride Team are avid (read "crazy") cyclists who ride outdoors no matter what the weather is like. Today, for example, it's 20 degrees and snowing. The prediction is for 2 to 5 more inches of snow. I know there are team members who will be riding outside today. Not us. When the weather gets like this Mary and I head indoors. It's time for riding the stationary bikes at the gym. (Yuck) Or setting up our bikes on an indoor trainer. Either way it's not the same as riding outdoors. I'll happily ride for 50 miles in 90 degree heat with a 20 mph head wind before spending 30 minutes on the gym "bikes". Unfortunately, since I'm not as hard core as some of our buddies, it's into the gym I go. My goal for this year is to get outside for a ride at least once each month. November was easy. December is starting off kind of tough. Although, the last couple years we've gone for a ride on New Year's Eve because temperatures topped 50 and it was sunny. We'll have to wait and see.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mary and Tom at the start of the 2008 Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes.

The new site

After four years of riding in Death Valley as part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride for a Cure we've decided to make a change. Next year we will be participating in a new JDRF ride in Killington, Vermont. (What is it with these morbid place names?) Because of that, we can't really have our ride blog called "DeathValleyRide", so we started a new blog with a new name.

"More Than 100 Miles..." has multiple meanings. First, these events are much more than just 100 miles of bicycle riding. They are a major fund raiser for JDRF. Our West Michigan team raised almost $260,000 last year. That over a quarter of a million bucks!!! Plus there is the emotional component of spending a whole year fundraising, training, and getting to know some very motivated people. Not to mention the kids and adults with diabetes who are constantly in our thoughts.

Also, it's the name of a documentary, "More than 100 Miles: Riding to Cure Diabetes" we are currently producing. Our plan is to release it early in 2009 and enter it in several film festivals. There is a link on this site to the trailer. (that's movie-speak for a preview)

If you followed our previous blog "Death Valley Ride", you'll notice that this one is a little different. Tom will be the main writer with Mary adding occasional, attributed commentary. We are going to drop the weekly mileage updates in favor of more thorough descriptions of the ride season activities. We'll also keep you up to date on the documentary of the same name. Thanks to everyone who followed the old blog and welcome to the new. Vermont, here we come!