Rhodes’ Personal Journey with Diabetes Inspires Him to Write a Children’s Book

Jun 23 2023

Rhodes Ritenour, our vice president of external and regulatory affairs, has the very important job of leading our Virginia hospitals’ public affairs initiatives.

Rhodes represents our ministry before local, state and federal governments, in communities we serve as well as to corporations. He also provides regulatory legal counsel and manages governance for our Richmond market.

Despite his current external-facing role within our ministry, Rhodes knows what it is like being a patient in the health care setting. This is because he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 5.

Rhodes has managed his diabetes for nearly 40 years by following a continuous treatment regime. He now wears an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. But before this life-altering technology became available, Rhodes relied on sticking his fingers to test his blood sugar and insulin injections to manage his disease.

“I estimate that I’ve had more than 80,000 finger sticks, 20,000 injections and 1,000 blood draws,” he shares.

As a child, Rhodes says he would have loved a book about a boy living life to the fullest without diabetes holding him back. So, using his own experience, Rhodes along with his wife, Alana, recently published their first children’s book! They hope the book will become a resource for those affected by diabetes and will entertain any young reader.

The planned series is titled “The Adventures of Rhodes and Alana,” is based in Richmond and follows Rhodes as an 8-year-old with type 1 diabetes.

“In ‘School Bus Secret,’ the first book of the series, Rhodes meets his best friend, Alana, and they set off on their first adventure,” Rhodes explains.

Missing the school bus leads to an exciting journey and an opportunity for Rhodes to tell Alana about living with type 1 diabetes. As a result, a new friendship is formed between these two spirited and confident kids.

Proceeds from the book series will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Diabetes Support Group, a national online diabetes community founded by the Ritenours in 2010. The support group provides practical advice, resources and encouragement to diabetics and those who support them.

Additionally, Rhodes serves on the American Diabetes Association National Board of Directors, which he will chair next year, and Alana serves on the Mid-Atlantic Board of JDRF.

The book is available at BBGB (Richmond, Va.) and online at, Barnes& and Amazon (for e-book).

Learn more about type 1 diabetes as well as the endocrinology services we provide at Bon Secours.

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