Tour de Cure Red Riders Hit the Road
Alan Klein (third from left) is ready to ride again.
Alan Klein's first Tour de Cure was a memorable one. He doesn't remember any of it, however.
Klein, 58, of Wichita, Kan., experienced cardiac arrest during his first ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. On that morning last May, Klein and his daughter Summer Schoenhals set out for their ride. A few miles into the race, though, Klein crashed his bike. He's able to recount the story only because other riders and volunteers helped him piece it together. One rider—a nurse named Janet Crandall—helped perform CPR on Klein until emergency response teams got to the scene. From there, he was taken to the hospital and put into a medically induced coma for 24 hours, until doctors could stabilize his heart, kidneys, pneumonia, and type 2 diabetes.
But Klein's bounce back has been remarkable. He was able to move quickly through physical therapy and returned to work in less than two months. Along the way, he was visited and supported by other Tour de Cure riders and ADA volunteers. He's more than lucky, he says. "People tell me that this was karma, that 'You're the luckiest man alive,' and I don't think so," Klein says. "I'm a Christian and I think God did this for me. He gave me another chance, and I had some loose ends that I needed to tie up and I've tried to approach my life like that since."
Those loose ends include volunteering with the ADA. "I'm going to spend more time giving back," Klein says, starting with becoming a Tour de Cure committee member and team captain for Spirit Aerosystems, his workplace. In 2013, he will again be a Red Rider, a Tour de Cure participant who is recognized for living with diabetes. He's also working with the ADA field office to promote diabetes education on the job and in the community.
RaeAnn Moreno, manager of the ADA's Wichita office, calls Klein "a fighter." She says visiting him in the hospital was inspiring. "As we walked into Alan's room … tears immediately welled up in his eyes, which made us tear up as well. He said, 'I don't know many of you yet, but I will.' … [That's] what the American Diabetes Association is about: people with diabetes supporting others with diabetes."
To get involved with the Tour de Cure in your area, visit diabetes.org/tour.