Ron Rapaport and daughter Lauren.
Lauren Rapaport has been battling juvenile diabetes for 33 years. Diagnosed at the age of 3, she has learned to regulate her insulin and check her blood sugar. She carefully balances her food intake with her exercise. It’s life-long and 24/7 — a disease that has no cure — and one that she will never outgrow.
Last year, she and her dad Ron Rapaport decided to take on the challenge of cycling in the Burlington, Vermont “Ride to Cure Diabetes.” Their goals were to raise money to fund research for better treatments, to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes (T1D), to reach personal training targets, and to spend quality daughter/father time together. All their goals were exceeded. Ron Rapaport completed 73 miles and Lauren Rapaport finished the full 100. They raised more than $24,000 — and they met their challenge together as a father/daughter team.
“On Ride day, I was surrounded by volunteers and family members who cheered me on from mile one to mile 100. With 40 miles to go, my spirit was high but my legs were tired. Struggling up a hill, I felt the hand of my coach on my back. It was the boost I needed to finish,” Lauren Rapaport said.
“With the finish line in sight, I felt tears rising. When my parents enveloped me with hugs and heartfelt congratulations, it hit me. I did it. I completed the Ride to Cure Diabetes for my dad, my loved ones, JDRF and myself.” Immediately after the race, Lauren Rapaport was chosen by team coaches to wear the polka- dot jersey in this year’s race, signifying that she was chosen and honored as the “Spirit of the Ride.”
On July 12-15, the Rapaports will again tackle the hills and valleys around Lake Champlain. But, even though they will be better prepared for the race and will know exactly what to expect — some things have changed from last year. Shortly before last year’s race, Ron Rapaport noticed a number of unexplained blood abnormalities and fatigue. He was able to complete the 73 miles due to his training and a blood transfusion but after the race, he was diagnosed with Myelo Dysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a pre-leukemia condition that requires chemotherapy seven days each month. While some people would have quit, Ron Rapaport became even more determined to complete the race. “I’ve been finishing 50-mile rides to train for Vermont. I bought a great bike and that really helps on the hills. We have a bigger group — and we are all feeling strong. I know the race will be a success — and hoping to raise more money than we did last year. So far, we have raised over $18,000.”
Barbara Rapaport will be in the crowd cheering her daughter and husband. She has served JDRF in several capacities for years, including chairing the JDRF Gala and the Holiday Gift Wrap Drive. “JDRF is a grass-roots organization that has been powered by the passion of the parents. All of us are hoping and praying for a cure,” she said.
Information about joining a JDRF bike ride or donating to Ron or Lauren Rapaport is available at the JDRF website www.jdrf.org.