It's that time of year again. In fact, it's a little later than usual when we normally kick off the Adams & Ochs annual "Team TKO" drive to combat diabetes through the auspices of The American Diabetes Association (ADA).
This will be the 7th consecutive year we have asked readers of this column to join us in combating a disease that left our grandson's, Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO), life, forever altered, shortly after he was 3 years old. Thousands of blood sticks and insulin injections later, Tyler will soon be 11 and is, already, taking on a key leadership role among the many thousands of kids suffering from and determined to find a cure for this horrifying disease.
Tyler might, however, tell you that his motto reads, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Just make sure its sugar free."
Instead of enumerating the long list of horrors and tragedies suffered by diabetics, as I've been doing here over the last seven years we've been in this campaign, I have decided to take a more positive approach. If you aren't well aware of the statistics by now, you probably don't need reminding. If you do need reminding a quick internet search for "diabetes statistics" will keep you occupied and depressed for hours.
Over the last several years we've had a family and friends team of a dozen or members, named for Tyler, (Team TKO) that has participated in the American Diabetes Association's big, national fundraising campaign called Step out Walk to Stop Diabetes. It is always held at Keeneland in late spring after the weather is more dependable.
Last year the name was 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. Again, this year, on the early morning hours of June1, while the dew is still on the roses, Tour De Cure participants can choose from among all 3 events and I'm guessing upwards of 2,000 to 2,500 walker/runner/cyclists teams will choose one or another or even all 3. 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 ambulatory than yours truly I am Team TKO's head cheerleader.
We spend several weeks asking friends and neighbors to "sponsor" Team TKO's participation, through cash donations, in one or more of the tour events. Our team has raised well over $30,000 to support this cause and, you column readers, have generously given us about $20,000 of that since we first started. We sincerely hope that you will join us again this year because we are absolutely convinced that ADA is one of the most effective and efficient disease research organizations in the world.
In the meantime, please feel free to call Tyler, "Mr. Ambassador." He has agreed to serve as one of 5 ADA Youth Ambassadors for the state of Kentucky. I'm pretty sure TKO is the youngest of the two guys and three girls between sixth and eighth grades who spend their spare time helping do commercial television public service announcements, attending publicity functions, writing cards, letters, emails and social media promotions and doing numerous other activities to rally the troops to support Tour De Cure and raise public awareness of diabetes.
Needless to say, Tyler's big brother, Braden, as well as Mom, Jennifer, and Dad, Kevin Ochs, also spend countless hours traveling in support of his diplomatic efforts. The bottom line is that, instead of diabetes being a handicap, Tyler, his immediate family and the rest of us do everything we can to make sure that Tyler is a stronger, more responsible, person with diabetes than he would be without it.
If you would like to make a contribution, and we really, really hope that you will sponsor us this year, 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 when the sun comes up on June 1. Please send your support to:
Ike Adams, 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.