The American Diabetes Association presents the Tour de Cure, a cycling event to raise awareness 

Tour de Cure
6:30 a.m. Saturday
Wild Horse Park
1201 N. Mustang, Mustang

Nathan Hamilton thought he'd be the lucky one in the family.

With an astounding number of family members with diabetes, Hamilton knew all the signs. His sister was diagnosed at age 13, his father at 17, and when Hamilton was 23, he was sure he'd missed the ax.

Until the week he started having the symptoms.

"I knew what the symptoms were, so I checked my blood sugar, and it was three times as high as it should be," Hamilton said.

Four years ago, that diagnosis wasn't a surprise to him, but it was a blow. His wife was seven months pregnant with their first child, and he was starting a new job.

A baseball player throughout high school, Hamilton knew he'd let his health slack. He wasn't eating right, and he wasn't exercising.

"That changed. I began running half-marathons," he said. "The people around me started cycling, and so I tried it."

He hasn't run since. Cycling became a part of his daily control regimen for diabetes, but as a participant in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure, to be held Saturday in Mustang, it's also a way to fight for a cure.

Nationally, the Tour de Cure is held in 43 states to raise money for diabetes research. Riders cycle as individuals or in teams.

According to Brian Parks, tour coordinator for the Oklahoma ride, participants raise money through e-mail, letters, websites and other means.

"To be honest, I ride to be healthy," Hamilton said, "but I wanted to do the ride, and I wanted to do something to help find a cure and raise awareness. After I was diagnosed with diabetes, I looked into the race, and it said you had to raise $150. I didn't know if I could do that."

But that $150 turned out not to be difficult to find. Hamilton, along with his team of riders, has raised $3,500 so far this year. He still hopes to beat the $6,500 he and his team raised last year.

"My team is mostly made up of my co-workers," he said. "This year, I'm dedicating my ride to my dad, who passed away a few weeks ago. He was a diabetic for 37 years. We need to find a cure so others don't have to suffer."

Parks said it's not too late to sign up. The ride includes 18-, 30-, 48- and 62-mile routes.

"We have new events this year for participants and their families," said Parks. "One of those is a Kid Zone."

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 40,000 riders participated in the 80 tour events last year, raising almost $17 million. "Heide Brandes

On Saturday, cyclist Nathan Hamilton will participate in Tour de Cure.

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