Healthy Heart

Grandmother with Diabetes Bikes Across the Country

Grandmother with Diabetes Bikes Across the Country

Photo Source: Tracy Herbert.

One woman is making it a personal goal to bike to the east from the west coast. At the moment she is half way in her journey. Tracy Herbert take videos daily from most parts of the country and uploads them to the social media. She is always happy in these videos. Now she is half way through the journey, and she has loved the Good life. She said that she had loved Nebraska. She said that since she started the journey, she has met a lot of amazing people. She loves sharing her story as she meets new people. People then tell her that she looks fine only that her pancreas doesn’t work.

Tracy is proud to share that she was diagnosed years ago when syringes were still being boiled. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Doctors had told her that she had only 20 years to live. She had severe complications. She thought that she could not have children again. Forty years passed, and now she is a mother of two. Maybe she was thinking of her grandkids when she traveled through the mountains that changed her life. She was happy.

Have a question aboutDiabetes?Ask a doctor now

Camping with Children

This summer she went camping with a hundred children like her, and she felt sad. She then realized that the children had a lot to learn from what she went through so that she could thrive and survive. While she was at the camp, one boy asks her if she was afraid. She said that she was afraid of many things. However, the boy rephrased and asked her if she was afraid of diabetes. She said that she was no longer afraid. She said that she is no longer afraid like she used to be. The boy said that he was scared and it hurt him.

That is when Tracy realized that the trip across the U.S was more than just about her. She realized that it was about the kids. Tracy has a device in her arm that helps in regulating insulin. She wants the technology to be used to help the boys as well. Tracy can ride for days without changing the device. She can also monitor insulin levels on her phone.

She said that she needed insulin just like other people. She recalled all the horror stories about children dying because they lack insulin. She travels for miles, and it can be exhausting, but she never gives up. She said that even when the trip is over, she will continue spreading the message that no one should fear their body. She looks forward to reaching New York City. She would probably shed tears because it could be cool to have traveled 4,000 miles while riding across the U.S. She looks forward to achieving this.

Tracy and her husband were in Des Moines, and they were also in Council Bluffs a week ago. They then went to Chicago. Tracy usually posts videos every day, and anyone can follow up on their progress. People can also contribute to her cause.


In 1978, Tracy was diagnosed with diabetes. She was only 17, and she was in her senior year. Tracy felt like it was a death sentence.  That is when she was told that she had only 20 years to live. Tracy was also told that she would experience horrible complications and that she will never have children. She never wanted to believe that but wanted to feel that the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. Tracy expected at least hope.

She decided to go to IPFW Helmke Library and do some research on what other diabetes patients around the world were doing about the disease. Tracy is now 56, and she has lived more than 20 years that the doctors had told her. She celebrates specific anniversaries by doing something crazy. When Tracy had lived for 20 years, and she was still okay, she rode for 100 miles in Texas. She participated in triathlon competition for 30 years. However, she is afraid of water.

Tracy has decided to try something challenging this year: riding across America. She began the ride on June 13 at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. Tracy hopes to finish the Journey on September 12. She will be finishing at Brooklyn Bridge, New York. By crossing into Indiana, she had completed 2,700 miles. Last week she reached Fort Wayne. She met a group of family and friends.

Tracy and Her Husband

Tracy and her husband got rid of their Texas apartment. They also traded in a vehicle for an RV. They stored the rest of the belongings so that she could concentrate on her trek. So far, the weather has been fantastic for her to cycle. She only stopped for days as she waits for RV parts to arrive or to rest. Tracy has been sticking to the back roads, and her husband catches up with her after about every 30 miles to ensure that she eats enough and fill up her water bottle. When she began the ride, Tracy was afraid of riding through crowded streets that now she is used to it. Tracy travels about 50 – 80 miles every day, but it depends on how she is feeling. When she was riding across Wyoming, she had to stop after every 76 miles because the rest stops were placed after at these locations.

Tracy used to take nine insulin shots every day. Nowadays she uses a glucose monitor and insulin pump. The glucose monitor relay all the information through her phone. She does something every day such as a hike, backpack, play tennis, ride bikes or yoga. Tracy has been doing this for the past 40 years. Her husband has always joked that when he wants to spend time with her, he has to take his bike and go for a ride with her.

Doctors had told her that she could not have children, now she has four children and four grandchildren. Together with her husband, they always raise awareness about diabetes. They also raise money to be used in research. They took this mission as a calling due to rise in diabetics. They always create awareness whenever they meet people. Tracy felt that people in the United States didn’t understand much about diabetes’ ramifications. She felt this way when she met one lady in California who told her that diabetes wasn’t a big deal and that people have to avoid sugar only.

When Tracy is riding her bike, she gets more stories to share. She also keeps planning on a foundation that can help others.

Tracy started hearing about children dying and others losing hope while still young. Initially, then ride across the country was meant to be an anniversary but now it has changed to bringing awareness and give the kids hope. She always prays for kids with diabetes that she meets along the way. She imagines how the lives of these kids are like and she wants to help them get the technology that has helped her for years. She says that these kids help her to get through the ride.