On June 6, three Azusa Pacific friends set off on their bicycles with one main goal: to raise enough money to cure diabetes. How? They plan to ride 3,328 miles through 44 cities to spread awareness and the truth behind diabetes.
Throughout the spring semester the three friends searched for sponsors, held a silent auction, began fundraising for the cause, and shared the news of their journey with everyone they met. Currently, researchers say there will be a cure for diabetes for the next generation. Connect for the CURE™ wants to speed up finding a cure for the twenty-four million Americans who currently live with diabetes.
The team, known as Connect for the CURE™, consists of Ryan Rosenhahn ‘10, a recent business graduate of APU and the founder of the organization, Matt Kaiser ‘10, and Christian Gagné ’09, who decided to join the team when they found out what Rosenhahn wanted to do.
“Diabetes is a very misunderstood and overlooked disease. Some people view it as something that can be avoided. It needs to be brought to the forefront of peoples’ attention, especially when researchers feel there is a cure,” said Rosenhahn.
Last year, Rosenhahn dreamt up the idea in one of his business classes.
“I never thought it would become a reality, until Ilene Bezjian, dean of the School of Business and Management, was working with and supporting us,” said Rosenhahn.
These students decided they wanted to make a difference in finding a cure as a result of seeing loved ones fight against this disease.
“These days, nearly everyone has a family member or friend with diabetes. For me, the initial inspiration was my girlfriend of six years, Laura. She’s had diabetes since she was nine years old. For Matt and Christian, their moms both have Type II diabetes. We watch our loved ones live with this disease every day,” said Rosenhahn.
While on their ride, the team is using their rest days to partner with the local American Diabetes Association offices to host events for the children in the area.
“Raising money to cure diabetes is only part of the ride,” said Rosenhahn. “We also want to teach kids about healthy living, the importance of eating well and exercising, and even how to repair their own bikes.”
These young men departed from the Santa Monica Pier on June 6 and plan on arriving in New York City on July 28. They aim to ride approximately 100 miles per day with a few rest days in between, taking nearly two months to complete the trip.
“We are ready,” said Rosenhahn, just five days prior to their departure. “We have been training for months. We are prepared. We also have a great support system behind us, on the road, at home, and at APU.”
To stay up to date on their trip, follow their blog.