OTIS, Mass. — Wendy Lampro has biked thousands of miles in 100-degree heat, sub-freezing weather and days following a serious operation – all in memory of her sister who died a decade ago this month.
Most recently in Tuscon, Ariz., Lampro planned to peddle in her fifth “Ride to Cure” since Kelly Alden-Terranova, 41, of South Lee passed away Nov. 25, 2003, from complications of Type 1 diabetes. The 111-mile cycling fundraiser will benefit the Greater Connecticut/Western Massachusetts chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The loss of her sister and her concern for those living with the disease, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, are key reasons Lampro pushes her body and bicycle to the limit.
“You get angry and bitter when you lose someone. There’s nothing you can do,” Lampro said. “When I’m out there (biking), it’s for my sister and others, as I have a friend whose daughter has Type 1.”
Counting the Tucson event, Lampro, 45, will have raised $44,000 for JDRF dating back to her first “Ride to Cure” event three years ago. Lampro has ridden twice in the scorching climate of Death Valley, Calif., – once 17 days after an operation that takes weeks of recovery – 20-degree temperatures in Lake Tahoe, Calif., and this summer in Burlington, Vt.
Barbara Weisman, regional development manager for JDRF, praises Lampro’s dedication.
“She’s been one of our heroes,” said Weisman. “Wendy chooses to keep Type 1 in the forefront.”
According to JDRF, three million Americans – 85 percent of them adults – have Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Research 0scientists believe genetic factors and the environment trigger the disease, but no preventative measures or cure exists.
What those with Type 1 diabetes have is high-tech insulin pumps, support services and a more caring public, unlike when Alden-Terranova was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 13 in 1975.
“The stigma was horrible as no one knew how to act around her,” said Lampro. “She lost her friends and, due to her health, eventually dropped out of high school.”
Lampro said her sister managed to live with Type 1 and its complications, which included poor eyesight and loss of circulation in her extremities. Alden-Terranova would marry and have her own painting and stenciling business.
However, in early 2003, Alden-Terranova’s health began to deteriorate, requiring her left leg to be amputated below the knee.
She was awaiting a heart, liver and kidney transplant when she died in 2003, two days before Thanksgiving.
Lampro has logged more than 7,000 miles biking to fight Type 1 diabetes and the mother of three grown daughters plans to keep riding for a cure indefinitely.