Pam Lord began regularly riding her bicycle 10 years ago after she discovered she had high cholesterol while attending a Weight Watchers meeting.
Advised by her doctor to lose weight, Lord ultimately lost 66 pounds.
“I never felt better, and it was because of riding the bike,” Lord said. “So, I thought, I’d better keep it going. I’d better just keep riding.”
She hasn’t stopped riding since.
“Now, my doctor tells me not to come see him between the months of October and March because, he said, that’s when the sick people usually come in,” Lord said.
That schedule works well for the 67-year-old Carlisle resident because it leaves more time for bike riding and participating in events, such as today’s American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure, a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states to benefit the ADA.
Lord plans to ride 160 miles during Saturday’s event, which begins at the fairgrounds in Grantville. The event helps to raise money to find a cure for diabetes.
Nearly 26 million children and adults in this country are diagnosed with diabetes, according to the ADA, whose stated mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease.
An estimated 79 million have pre-diabetes while one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime, if current trends continue, officials said.
The ratio is even greater for minority children, with one in two developing diabetes in their lifetime, according to the ADA.
Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18 percent of pregnancies, and prior studies have shown women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk for developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.
So, Lord has spent the past few days soliciting donations and talking up Saturday’s event.
“She is dedicated, that’s for sure,” said Joe Santinoceto, Lord’s friend and fellow Carlisle Kiwanis Club member. “She’s in a routine and she’s really gotten into a rhythm,” Santinoceto said.
Love of riding
Whether it’s a few miles to her weekly Kiwanis Club meetings, a couple of miles to a local restaurant to join her sister for lunch, or a 50 mile journey up a mountain, Lord rides her bicycle just about everywhere she goes, she said.
“I like to get 75 to 100 miles in each week,” Lord said.
She also has participated in rides to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and other charitable causes. She and husband, Bill Lord, plan to ride the Great Allegheny Passage later this year.
The passage stretches 141 miles long from Cumberland County to Homestead, near Pittsburgh. In Cumberland County, the gap joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous trail experience of 325 miles long to Washington, D.C., according to information on the passage’s website.
Last year, Lord joined a ride from Williamsport, Md., to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.. – a 104 mile trek in which she barely broke a sweat.
“I’m used to it, even at my age,” she said.
Riding has become something of a family affair with not only her husband joining her, but also her daughter and son-in-law Christine and Darryl Heckle, Lord said.
“We’ve all kind of gotten into it and we enjoy it,” Lord said. “It’s beneficial for a lot of things and I stay healthy. I don’t take any prescription medication either. All I take are vitamins.”