Monica Spins for a Cure: Monica is the mother of a Type 1 diabetic son named Ethan. Her boy is ten years old and carries an insulin pump with him everywhere he goes. On a YouTube video announcement Monica says, “Remember, insulin isn’t a cure. It’s just life support.” Ethan appears to agree with his mother’s assessment.
Monica doesn’t have diabetes and it doesn’t run in her family, but she’s had to adapt and learn quickly how best to care for her son. He was diagnosed before he even turned two.
Today Monica Maliskas is a huge proponent of diabetic research. So much so that she is heavily involved in the development of what is known in her part of Texas as the “12-Hour Cycle for a Cure”. This indoor spinning marathon using stationary bicycles raises money for research in juvenile diabetes, also known as Type 1.
Her mother’s heart is evident as she continues to spin the wheel of her bike after everyone else has given up. As she told the Dallas Morning News, “He [Ethan] never gets a break.” Monica endured to the end of her 12-hour marathon – for Ethan – and all the kids his disease represents.
Last year the event raised nearly $75,000 for research purposes. Some 300 participants each donated $100 to participate for at least one hour this year. Many also worked to increase giving by asking friends and family to support them beyond the $100 gift.
Some spinners managed much more than an hour as they worked to train for upcoming endurance events involving bikes. In the end it was Monica Maliskas alone who agonized to keep the wheels spinning throughout all twelve hours.
She does this for Ethan and for all the other children who are hoping for a cure – hoping to find a time and place in their life when they aren’t tied to an insulin pump and subjected to multiple finger pricks in order to find out how their blood sugar is doing at any given moment.
It is easy to view diabetes as a disease that can rob children of their childhood. While Ethan does have more personal responsibility for his health he is also actively involved in sports and many other activities kids his age enjoy.
What Ethan does have to pay attention to what he eats and how much he consumes. He has to be aware that each day his insulin needs can change. When it comes to food he can’t be as carefree as his peers. He has to exercise patience and self-control.
Ethan is not alone. His family has publicly expressed their commitment to helping him reach his health goals and then further to help others achieve the potential of advanced treatment options or even a cure – one spin of a wheel at a time.
Monica’s labor of love for Ethan might just inspire you to do something similar where you live. It doesn’t need to be a bike-a-thon. It could be a walk-a-thon on a well-known path in your region. It could be a jog, jump rope, or outdoor biking trip. Events like this raise awareness and can provide much needed resources for organizations dedicated to discovering a cure. There may even be an existing effort in which you can involve yourself.
The secondary benefit will be that those who live with the disease will gain encouragement from your selfless act knowing that what you are doing can impact them in multiple and positive ways.