I am a competitor in the world's longest horse race. Join me as I compete against 30 international riders to race 1000km in 9 days across the Mongolian Steppe on semi-wild Mongolian horses - all to raise money for the JDRF to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
The Mongol Derby is considered the world's toughest horse race. We will be racing 10 hours a day across Mongolia carrying no more than 5 kgs of provisions on Mongolian horses - some who have never been ridden before! Navigation is by GPS across rivers, up mountains and through miles of nothing but grass. We sleep with the nomads in Mongolian Gers and eat what they feed us - mutton and goat. No showers, no change of clothes, just endless riding until we reach the finish line. It is a true test of physical stamina and mental strength.
It will, however, be nothing compared to the daily challenge kids living with Type 1 diabetes face. As a mother of two diabetic children, Margaret aged, 17 and Tom, aged 14, I see the daily struggle. Diagnosed at 5, Margaret lives everyday with finger tests, carbohydrate counting, injections, mood swings and the feeling of just being plain sick and tired of having the disease. As a hockey and soccer player, Tom has struggled for 5 years balancing intense exercise and insulin injections, sometimes missing out on playing time or even being cut from a competitive team due to his performance on the field or ice due to either high or low blood sugar numbers. I know other kids face similar disappointments as a result of the disease.
I will thinking about my two plus other kids with Type 1 diabetes as I ride those 1000 km - a very small endeavour compared to what they go through every day of their lives. While I am riding, I will also be hoping that the money I raise by doing this race will fund the experiment that leads to that special day - the day there is an announcement that a cure has been found.