By Jeanne Sager
CLARYVILLE June 28, 2002 No mom wants to see her child suffer.
And Mary Beth Krom is no different. But this Grahamsville mom isnt ready to sit by and watch her sons disease worsen. Thats why shes organizing a bike-a-thon in her hometown to support diabetes research.
Kevin, 8, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes three years ago when he was just 5 years old.
Today hes just your average kid. He attends school at Tri-Valley in Grahamsville. He plays sports and runs around with his classmates.
But Kevin Krom has an insulin pump which he wears to school every day to regulate his blood sugar. And before every meal, the youngster has to sit down and test his blood to ensure his body is properly processing carbohydrates.
My mom and my sister had diabetes, Mary Beth explained, but you dont realize how hard it is until you or your child have it.
When he was diagnosed, we had to rush right to Westchester Medical, she noted. And the poor kid, they couldnt get his sugar down and they just kept sticking him and sticking him.
Today Kevin has become accustomed to the cards life has dealt. He manages his disease at school, and gets a kick out of showing off his pump to friends. But when his mom has to stick him with a needle and hits a muscle or makes him cry, it hurts her inside.
And, she said, there can be complications to diabetes, especially for those diagnosed at an early age like Kevin. Heart disease, kidney failure, neuropathy, periodontal disease and possible amputations are all side effects of a diabetic life.
But Mary Beth Krom knows there has to be a way to stave off the complications that have claimed many in her family.
The family has traditionally taken part in walk-a-thons for diabetes causes in Kingston. Kevin and his friends have ridden their bikes in the event rather than walking on their short legs, so Mary Beth had an idea.
I thought it would be nice to meet some of the people locally who give to this cause, she said. And it would be nice to get some community involvement.
Krom spoke with the Frost Valley YMCA and got permission to kick off bike rides from their community center in Claryville on July 27. And shes begun courting businesses to sponsor the event or throw in prizes for the raffles and food for the participants.
Now time is getting short, and shed like to sign up some more sponsors and hopefully get riders to register.
There will be two rides a five-mile trek from the community center to the covered bridge for the younger or less-experienced riders and a 17-mile ride from the community center to Frost Valleys main camp for the more aggressive bikers.
Rather than asking participants to seek out pledges in the community, Krom is asking adults to pay a $20 registration fee and children under 12 to pony up $10 for the event.
A lot of people dont want to have to go out and get pledges, she explained. I didnt want people to decide not to participate because they didnt want to do that.
Riders are asked to register early for organizational reasons, but they will be accepting bicyclists up until the ride starts at 2 p.m. on that Saturday.
Others who cannot participate are encouraged to send checks payable to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation care of the Kroms address: P.O. Box 99, Grahamsville, NY 12740. The money will all be forwarded to the foundation, and 85 cents of every dollar used will be spent on actual research rather than administrative costs.
To volunteer, to help sponsor the event or to participate, call Krom at 436-1741.
People should make this a family affair, Krom said. It should be a great day.
Well have raffle prizes, and it should be a lot of fun, she added. I hope we have a great turnout.