Some university students will be taking it easy before classes start this month, but Heather Cole is packing for a bike trip that will take her across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The Cyclebetes trip has a team of 10 people from each province taking turns pedalling a tandem bike for the six-day, 2,000 km trip.
In Cole’s case, she joined the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta teams when she found out some teams were short of riders.
The foundation’s cause is close to her heart. The 21-year-old Red Deer woman was diagnosed with having type one diabetes in February 2008.
“At first it is quite the challenge trying to figure everything out, but it’s getting easier,” Cole said.
“It’s like an instant, overnight change. Here’s your binder full of information. But the Red Deer clinic here was really awesome. They do a great job with their education and their support and everything. That definitely made a huge difference.”
The diagnosis hasn’t held Cole back. She plays beach and indoor volleyball, snowboards, mountain bikes and runs. During the summer, she did a co-op work term at the Dow Chemical Co. and she will return to the University of Alberta to continue studying chemical engineering this month.
Cole has raised around $3,000 for the ride, with money going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She set out on the bike on Friday.
“I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be a really amazing experience for me to do something like this,” Cole said.
Anyone wishing to donate to Cole’s ride can go to www.cyclebetes.com, click on Canada, then onto donate at the bottom of the page. After that, click on provincial relay donate now and then click sponsor an individual cyclist. Type Heather Cole’s name in and the province of Alberta and it will go to her fundraising page.