Monday, June 11, 2007

Team Type 1 To Bike Across U.S. Starting Tomorrow

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Phil Southerland (pictured to the left with his mother, Joanna), who in case you didn't know it, bicycled across the U.S. last year to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Team Type 1, founded in 2004, was the dream of two young men with Type 1 diabetes, Phil Southerland (diabetic since 7 months of age) and Joe Eldridge (diabetic since 14 years old). Anyway, Phil and his team have decided to do the trek cross-country again starting tomorrow, and their goal is to complete the trek in a record 5 days and 6 hours! If they accomplish this, they will have broken their own world record which they accomplished last year.

I personally support these guys, and although I believe there are enough cheerleaders for people with diabetes, Team Type 1's efforts to raise awareness and their fundraising deserve far more credit than they have received.

Even small donations are valuable, if for no other reason than to demonstrate your solidarity with these guys. You can follow the progress during the next week on the Team Type 1 blog and contributions can be made here.

For some additional background information, catch the interview Phil did last year with DiabetesTeenTalk here. As an FYI, when he was asked by another publication about whether he felt the team was being mean about excluding Type 2s from the team, Phil responded:

"Not a chance. We will have Team Type 2 beginning in 2008. I am looking for any Type 2's interested in being inspirational, and competing in RAAM!!!"

I wish Team Type 1 the best of luck for a very worthy cause! The text of the e-mail I received can be seen below.


Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 02:54:36 PM EDT
From: "Phil Southerland"
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: Team Type 1 and RAAM- How to follow the team! Thanks in advance:)

Hello Friends,

I hope you are doing well. On Tuesday, June 12, Team Type 1 ( will set off to break our own World Record in the Race Across America. We have 8 people, with a 130 years of diabetes on the team and we are doing this with a few goals in mind:

1. Show people with diabetes that you can do anything and everything a person without diabetes can do (no offense, but sometimes better :)
2. The only way we can do this is by having good control of our blood sugars. Take the A1C Challenge: Strive for 6.5 A1C (a cumulative average of blood glucose levels)
3. Raise some money to one day cure the disease. TT1 riders will be participating in JDRF ride to cures. Right now we are on pace for $130,000.
4. 3053 miles in 5 days and 6 hours.

We can use YOUR help. If possible, please view the race blog on We will have photos and stories posted during the race.

2nd, please tell your friends, and people you know about the team and the race. You may just help someone to get excited about a new challenge.
Lastly, donations, which will help further research of this disease.

To follow the team, there is (please visit to view all of our sponsors who make this dream possible) as well as (our title sponsor, and reason for doing the race,) and

Thank you so much for your support. We all look forward to hearing from you on the road!

Phil and Team Type 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I followed this story last year in the hometown newspaper. JDRF, ADA or any other charity is always ready and eager to trot out the “stars” to plead for increased contributions for their supposed “cure portfolio.”

If myself and 7 of my older diabetic friends were to give these youngsters some advice (consider, that’s 408 years of Type 1 “anecdotal” experience), it would be “don’t let yourself be exploited by corporate charities in the name of a “cure. A CURE is tantamount to ‘corporate suicide,’ and if you believe the effort is urgent and sincere—you’re delusional.”

Participating in this sort of glitzy production in the name of a cure in reality dismisses all of the hardships being experienced in the diabetic community—with no true help for the diabetic UNLESS it benefits diabusiness (industry & charity). For example, the expressed goals of 6.3 A1c is more aligned with promoting all of today’s high technology—problematic pumps, inaccurate meters, “better” insulin protocols, “new” specialty foods. The corporate “sponsors” of these endeavors are only interested in increasing corporate profitability; if patients benefit along the way, to some small degree, it is merely a fortuitous coincidence.

Many long-term diabetics I know could tell you that until the late 1980s they could maintain EQUAL or BETTER control than now—with none of the high tech gadgetry and “better” insulin products. Understand, the underlying rule in corporate America is “give them less, tell them it’s ‘more,’ and keep counting the dollars.” The sooner ALL diabetics understand they are nothing more than diabusiness PAWNS, the sooner we will unite and demand a CURE—charities be damned.

The fact that these 8 young people achieved such a ‘lofty’ goal, a world record, is worthy of recognition. But the fact that JDRF exploits the achievement (and the disease) to inflate their coffers is despicable. In more than 35 years, the parents of diabetic children who founded JDRF to seek a cure, still see their diabetic children (now 35 years older) waiting for a cure that remains 5 years away.

Instead of allowing themselves to be exploited, these young diabetics have a (fleeting) bully pulpit from which to speak. They could express how difficult it is to live with this dreadful disease 24/7/365. They could let the (non-diabetic) public know that ‘treatment’ is more than “take a shot and stay away from sweets.” Instead, they seem to revel in their “15 minutes of fame.” As they perform their spokesperson duties, they seek to homogenize us—if we follow their example, if we keep our numbers good enough, we, too, can succeed. We’re INDIVIDUALS; we need advocates, not corporate or quasi-corporate propagandists, to speak for us.

Sorry, but my ADA contributions ceased many years ago. I fear JDRF contributions are also at an end. As I see the obscure avenues being explored by JDRF researchers—funded under the umbrella of “cure research”--I have become increasingly skeptical about how wisely my donations are being spent.