At JDRF, we celebrate passionate individuals who use their unique skills and interests to build a healthier, happier future. These characteristics are clearly evident in the story of John Oakes from Redding and his grandson Ryan Oakes of Chico, who have combined an enthusiasm for bicycle racing with an intense motivation to contribute to a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
Ryan credits his grandfather as his primary supporter in his cycling endeavors. John developed an interest in bicycle racing later in life and began participating in the sport in 1998; in his time, he won several Master’s Games and Senior Olympic titles. However, just eight years ago, John’s athletic pursuits were interrupted as he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. While he no longer rides competitively since the diagnosis, he has retained a strong interest in the sport, and has passed down his expertise to his grandson. Together, the pair now hopes to use their shared passion to race toward a cure. This November, they plan to participate in the annual JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Tucson, Arizona — an event that blends athletic achievement with fundraising.
However, Ryan has chosen to take on a much more rigorous objective than most riders: the Everest Challenge. “Everesting,” an increasingly popular and grueling practice among the cycling community, involves ascending the same vertical elevation as Mt. Everest — approximately 30,000 feet — in a single ride. On Sunday, September 10, he will embark on this mission, completing 53 laps around a steep hill for a total distance of 148.4 miles. He has further extended his goal in hopes of entering the “10,000-meter club,” by completing an additional 7 laps for a cumulative altitude of 32808.4 feet.
In boldly embracing this challenge, Ryan has demonstrated his commitment to JDRF’s mission. However, this adventure requires assistance from other driven, highly motivated individuals. To fulfill his fundraising goals, Ryan has requested pledges from his supporters for every lap he completes in his Everest Challenge. With less than one week remaining, he still needs additional pledges to reach his goal; those interested in supporting his journey can click here to make a donation.
We wish Ryan luck in his Everest Challenge, and we thank him and his grandfather for their commitment and generosity!
Written by: Lorena Bergstrom