Sunday, June 03, 2001

Diabetic man bikes 100 miles

Tour de Cure always a challenge, but worth the effort, he says

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ROSS TOWNSHIP — Bob Mallie did something special on his 25th anniversary.

        He rode 100 miles on a bike Saturday in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure, riding from Loveland to Xenia in about 6.5 hours.

        “I thought, what a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my dealing with diabetes,” Mr. Mallie said. “It's something you have to watch daily. There are a lot of other potential problems. Low blood sugar can also be an immediate problem.”

[photo] Bob Mallie poses in front of Fountain Square
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        Mr. Mallie, who lives in Ross Township in Butler County with his wife, Tina, participated in a similar bike tour some years ago in Illinois. This was the third year he rode in the Tour de Cure in Cincinnati.

        “Of the contributors to my tour fund, probably 95 percent of them have some relative, neighbor or friend who is diabetic — or who are themselves diabetic,” he said.“The numbers in the area are large - 190,000 people have some form of diabetes.

        “According to the Diabetes Association, 2,000 people a year die from the disease in this region, so it's not something that only I have. A week and a half ago, my own mother was diagnosed. A friend's six-year-old was diagnosed. It's difficult to tell a 6-year-old what not to eat.”

        Mr. Mallie has insulin-dependent diabetes. One of his three sisters, now 37, was diagnosed 15 years ago. Two grandmothers also suffered from the disease.

        “It can run in families,"” he said. “"My sister and I are Type 1, meaning we produce no insulin on our own. We have to inject. My mother is Type 2. She produces insulin in varying amounts but her ability to utilize it, for some reason, is not there.”

        The number of diabetics is increasing.

        In 1985, 30 million people had diabetes. Today, 150 million do. And by 2025, an estimated 300 million people will have it, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

        Mr. Mallie, who will turn 39 on June 8, works for Kendle International of Cincinnati, a clinical research firm that tests drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Kendle has conducted 36 diabetes clinical trials involving about 17,000 patients across the world, said Lori P. Dorer, a Kendle spokeswoman.

        “Bob's commitment to physical fitness to help him better manage his diabetes grew into a lifelong commitment to health and wellness, in his personal life and in his career,” she said. “Bob has served as as role model by speaking to newly diagnosed diabetics at several Ohio hospitals.”

        He said the Tour de Cure is a challenge but worth the time because it makes people more aware of diabetes.

        “It's all a juggling act over 100 miles. I stop periodically just to check my blood glucose levels. After the tour, I have to monitor myself for an extended period so I don't go low-blood sugar or something. You've got to watch. You've got to always watch.”


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