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Taking it to the Streets



With purple-clad feet firmly planted on a well-worn skateboard, Landon Sabo gains speed then pops the board up for a kickflip. A perfect landing.

“That’s one of my favorite tricks,” says the 12-year-old from Fargo. “Now I’m working on my ollie.”

But when it comes to diabetes care, Landon knows there are no tricks. It takes self-management, the right tools and people who care.

Staying well, being active

Symptoms of increased thirst and frequent urination led to Landon’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. He was 5 years old. Far less common than type 2 diabetes, type 1 is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin.

“Right away my mom thought it was diabetes because my dad was diagnosed with it when he was 10,” says Landon. “He takes really good care of himself. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Landon’s daily care includes medication injections, frequent blood-sugar checks and good eating habits. “It’s gotten a lot easier,” says Landon. “Now I know it’s something I have to do if I want to stay well and do the things I enjoy -- like skateboarding. I like being active.”

Appreciating advances

Appropriate medical care for diabetes is essential, especially for complications such as low blood sugar. Landon sees Dr. Alan Kenien, pediatric endocrinologist at Sanford Children’s. “He’s a really nice guy,” says Landon.

Dr. Kenien and his staff have introduced Landon and his mom, Heather Schimke, to several advancements that make diabetes care easier, including more comfortable injections, convenient devices to check blood sugar and insulin pumps.

“All the advancements have been impressive,” says Heather, an advocate for Landon and all people with diabetes. “It almost makes you think some day there might be a cure.”

Landon agrees: “A cure would be awesome!”

A ride with a purpose

On June 18, Heather and Landon will join hundreds of bicyclists, supporters and volunteers at Oak Grove Park in Fargo for the 2011 American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure. Now in its fourth year in North Dakota, the Tour has a 20-year national history.

This year’s local goal? 200 riders and $60,000! Funds benefit the ADA’s research, education and advocacy efforts.

Heather will ride in honor of Landon. She’ll also serve as captain of Team Red-North Dakota. Team Red welcomes Red Riders (riders with type 1 or type 2 diabetes) and all who support them. Red Riders receive a free jersey to wear for the Tour and other gifts and recognition.

Heather plans to ride the 32-mile route. Other options include the 100-mile Century Ride, 75-mile ride, 32-mile ride and the 16-mile Family Fun Ride.

A full life ahead

Whether he’s at home, in school or with friends, Landon doesn’t let diabetes get in his way. “But I know it can if you don’t manage it,” he says.

This summer Landon plans to attend Camp Sioux, the ADA’s camp for kids held in Park River, N.D. He went last year, too. “Everybody there has diabetes,” he says. “It’s interesting and fun.”

And the years ahead? “I wouldn’t mind being a pro skateboarder, but that’s a one-in-a-million chance,” he says. “I’m really into weather, too. On a blue-sky day, it’s cool to see thunderheads roll in from far away.”

Landon doesn’t make any weather predictions for the Tour de Cure on June 18, but Heather has a request: “I’m just hoping there won’t be a lot of wind!”

Register today

Join the fun, get some exercise and support a great cause! To learn more about the North Dakota Tour de Cure or to register:

    * Call 888-342-2383

Posted Date: June 2011

Taking it to the Streets

Heather Schimke knows the challenges of diabetes -- her 12-year-old son, Landon, deals with the disease every day. On June 18 she’ll ride for a cure in the North Dakota Tour de Cure. Come along!