McDONOUGH – Nancy Peterson knows firsthand the pain of losing a loved one to diabetes. In 2007, her 30-year old daughter, Heidee, passed away from complications related to the chronic disease, which the American Diabetes Association estimates affects more than 23.6 million adults and children in the U.S. alone.
Her daughter’s death inspired Peterson to begin raising money to combat diabetes through an annual motorcycle ride, the idea for which she credits to her son, Heidee’s brother, Shane Willcox.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, the 3rd Annual Heidee’s Ride for Diabetes will be held in her memory. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the ADA and their efforts to find a cure for the disease.
Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 3, Heidee struggled with the incurable disease her entire life. After giving birth to her son Isaiah in 2001, she developed a condition called gastroparesis, a neuropathy of the gastro-intestinal system. While normally non-life threatening, she did not respond to the normal course of treatment, and by 2004, she was spending much of her time in and out of the hospital.