Father Riding Across Country for T1D Cure After Son’s Death


Editor’s Note: For support navigating life after a Type 1 death, please visit Jesse Was Here, a unique program of Beyond Type 1, providing resources to spouses, siblings, grandparents, and friends in need.

Riding for a cure

One man is riding across the country to honor the memory of his son, raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes and help fund research for a cure. His name is Rex Covington and he has dubbed himself the “Lone Star Rider.”

Rex’s son Chris was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2003, at 27 years old. Rex told Beyond Type 1 that the diagnosis was shocking to the family at the time, as Chris was always active, “running 5Ks and playing soccer every weekend.” He was independent with his management and handled it well, according to Rex.

Towards the end of his life, Chris was having more frequent episodes of hypoglycemia. In 2015, Chris lost consciousness while driving, presumably the result of one such episode, and died in the ensuing crash. His father had moved in with Chris shortly beforehand and was devastated by his son’s passing.

“I did what I could to help him to get the medical attention he needed… On the evening he died, I blamed myself, and wondered if there was anything I could have done to prevent him from dying. This continued for a couple of years until I finally realized there was nothing I could have done,” he says.

New understanding

Rex’s perception of diabetes changed after losing his son – it was the moment he realized that more people needed to know the risks associated with diabetes and that a cure would be the only way to ensure others didn’t endure the same hardships as Chris. As Rex sees it, “The goal of the ride is to possibly prevent this from happening to someone else.”

Last year, he had a dream that he was fundraising for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) by riding his motorcycle all over the country. In the dream, Rex vividly saw himself raising $90,000 for diabetes research and this is where his goal stems from. So on June 21, 2018, he officially embarked on this journey and has been riding intermittently for the last 14 months.

The Lone Star Rider has met numerous others affected by diabetes since his journey began, many of whom have also lost a child to the disease. He wants others who are dealing day-to-day with Type 1 to know that they aren’t alone and would like the money he raises to go directly towards research “to make the lives of others better and to eliminate this disease.” Over the course of this journey, Rex has discovered just how many people are affected by diabetes — both those living with T1D and their loved ones.

You can follow Rex’s regular updates on his blog, where he pinpoints his location as he crosses the country, seeking out rallies, festivals, and other events — speaking with anyone and everyone who will hear his story — to raise awareness and fund cure research for T1D.

WRITTEN BY Jordan Dakin, POSTED , UPDATED 08/21/19

Jordan recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles after earning her BA in English and Film Studies. She is a passionate storyteller, traveler, and lover of people and hopes to use her experience working in tech and as a writer to advocate for the BT1 community. In her spare time, she also enjoys hiking, karaoke, and cooking for friends. Check her out on Instagram: @jordanemilydakin.