Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. She and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.

You’re just a click away from toeing a starting line and generating positive karma. Exercising with a purpose is an effective motivator for helping others, and yourself, by raising money and your heart rate.

Charity events can be a powerful and inspiring force for individuals and connected groups of people. There’s a win-win situation at hand—the organizations themselves aren’t the only benefactors. These well-supported events are created to help you achieve personal fitness goals while raising disease awareness and funding to further research new therapies for diabetes.

Plus, exercising for a cause gives people a sense of purposeful exercise.

You don’t have to live with diabetes to sign up. Check locally for exercise events that may be happening near you. Joslin Diabetes Center has "Team Joslin" which raises awareness, team spirit, and money on a local level for their diabetes center.

Here’s how it works:

• Find an event and sign up (there is usually a nominal fee)
• Raise money for the charity
• Train for the event
• Receive coaching and race-day support from the organization and have a blast with everyone else who made a difference just like you!

Cycling

These programs are incredibly crafted and fun to participate in. With local coaching and group rides, experience isn’t necessary and owning a bike may not be either, with bike loaning programs for charity events. Check for this availability near you.

The American Diabetes Association offers the Tour de Cure with 12-week training programs including novice riders, of course, with their “couch to 5 miles” approach.

JDRF offers the Ride to Cure Diabetes with seven event locations throughout the year. Fundraising efforts for JDRF may equate to covering travel expenses, such as airfare, hotel, and meals for the event. Weekly rides with your teammates are a great way to meet people with diabetes, get management tips, and train with your local community.

Walking

Charity walks are a great way to get your feet wet with a large event, organize a team, make t-shirts, and have a great time on walk day!

JDRF hosts the Walk to Cure Diabetes; with more than 200 walks across the country each year, there’s bound to be one near you.

The American Diabetes Association has the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in 95 cities nationwide with more than 100,000 walkers.

Raising the required money

It seems that I always underestimate how much money I’m capable of raising. Approach fundraising from a few different angles.

Don’t be scared to ask; pitch your cause! You needn’t raise large sums of cash from corporate sponsors to make a grassroots difference—every dollar matters!

Facebook posts. Post the link to your fundraising page. Write a thoughtful request letter that tugs at people's heartstrings.
Personal letters. I tend to write these letters to people who are large dollar contributors year after year. I put these in the mail for people who are very busy and aren’t active on Facebook.
Emails. Many organizations have platforms that will guide you through the fundraising steps. Create an email that includes a link to your fundraising page on which people can make direct credit card contributions.
Raffle. Ask friends and local merchants to donate goods for your raffle. People are much more inclined to donate when they think there’s a possibility there could also be a gift coming back their way.
Restaurants. Many restaurants will give a portion of their profits—say 10 percent—for a set period of time, such as their weekday lunch hour. This adds up for busy restaurants!

When you cross the finish line, you’ll have improved your health and generously contributed toward the good of the diabetes community at large!

To learn more about getting involved in diabetes fundraising and awareness:

Tour de Cure Raises Millions to Halt Diabetes
ADA Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes
A Dog, a Blue Collar, and a Vial of Insulin: DMF Fundraiser