Vincent Harrer's goal is to raise more than $3,000 through his ride in the June 8 cycling event
The American Diabetes Association, Western New York Chapter, has named Vincent Harrer of Lockport its youth ambassador for the 2013 Tour de Cure.
Vincent, a fourth-grader at DeSales Catholic School, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 7 years old. An avid athlete, he is a member of the DeSales swim team, plays soccer and lacrosse. Vincent rode six miles in last year's Tour de Cure, raising nearly $3,000. He also rode in 2011.
"I want to go way over $3,000 this year. I'm at almost $2,000 right now," Vincent said. "We need to raise money to find a cure and help other people who have diabetes."
Vincent has enlisted several of his young friends and family members, including his 7-year-old brother, Grant, to ride the six-mile course this year. He and his friends have been doing training rides around his neighborhood to get ready.
"It's not that hard to ride six miles. It's a lot of fun to be out there on tour day with all the riders, and it's for a good cause," he said
Jill Bakeman, manager of the 22nd annual Tour de Cure, said Vincent is a wonderful role model for kids and adults who are living with diabetes.
"He has such a positive attitude and his upbeat spirit is really contagious," she said. "We are thrilled to have him represent the thousands of young people in Western New York who understand the importance of ADA's quest to find a cure."
Lindsay Harrer, Vincent's mom, said she's extremely proud of her son.
"He's been through a lot and he's such a strong little boy," she said. "He never lets his medical condition get him down. He is very motivated to do everything he can to show other kids he can do anything they can, and he is very motivated to get the message out that, with more money for research, there will be cure."
The Harrer family was familiar with diabetes prior to Vincent's diagnosis. Lindsay's aunt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, and several cousins have type 2 diabetes.
Brian Harrer, Vincent's dad, a member of the Niagara County Sheriff's Department, has been a long-time rider with the Niagara County Law Enforcement & Friends Tour de Cure team, which rides in memory of the late Sgt. Jeffrey J. Juron, who had type I diabetes.
The law enforcement team now also rides to raise money to send Vincent to Camp Aspire, an overnight camp for diabetic children located in Monroe County.
Vincent rides as a Red Rider, a group of more than 95 Tour de Cure participants who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. His 2013 fundraising efforts include going door-to-door, sending emails to family and friends, and directing would-be donors to his Tour de Cure page. (To donate directly to Vincent's fund, go to the Buffalo Tour de Cure homepage, click the "Donate" icon and enter Vincent Harrer as the designated rider).
This year's Tour de Cure will take place June 8. More than 1,000 riders of all abilities are expected to participate. In 2012, 970 riders raised $370,271. The fund-raising goal for this year's tour is $394,000 and 1,150 riders.
To date, 690 riders, including 68 teams, have registered, pledging $165,000, putting the event on a solid pace. Each rider pays a $25 registration fee and pledges to raise a minimum of $150 to help stop diabetes.
The ADA serves more than 140,000 persons with type I and type II diabetes in Western New York. Locally, approximately 10 percent of the population suffers from the life-threatening disease. These case counts exceed the national average - and are increasing annually. The ADA estimates that, by 2020, 50 percent of local residents will be living with diabetes.
The Buffalo Tour de Cure, starting and finishing at Niagara County Community College, features pastoral- and Lake Ontario-view routes of different lengths for riders of all skill levels. There's something for everyone - from a leisurely six-mile family route, all the way up to the challenge of the 62.5-mile metric century and 100-mile century rides.
All Tour de Cure routes are safe and fully supported with route marshals, SAG vehicles, mechanical support, and rest stops stocked with hydration and a variety of snacks to keep entrants fueled. At the finish, participants will be welcomed with cheering volunteers, food, massage therapists, music and more.
In 2012, more than 55,000 cyclists in 80 national events raised more than $18 million to support the mission of the American Diabetes Association: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The Buffalo Tour de Cure was the first ever staged by the ADA.