Riding with Spirit

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JDRF Riders Felix Navarro and Felix Navarro Jr.

Felix Navarro was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) 37 years ago when he was a 13-year-old living in Puerto Rico.

He started bike riding in 2017 to lose weight and improve his health.

After completing his first charity bike ride for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, he was inspired. “It made me think about what it would be like to ride for JDRF, a charity near and dear to me.”

Felix’s first JDRF Ride was in Amelia Island, FL, and he surprised himself by completing the full 100 miles. “It was challenging but so rewarding,” he said.

A JDRF Ride to Remember

JDRF Riders Felix Navarro and Felix Navarro Jr. wearing their Spirit jerseys

Felix’s most memorable Ride was in 2019—the year he started riding with his son, Felix Jr.

Felix Jr. has cerebral palsy, so he rides an adaptive bike attached to the front of his dad’s bike. Felix trains for four months before each Ride, using a homemade wagon he built to practice pulling his son with his bike.

Having an extra person with him is challenging at times, but Felix wouldn’t have it any other way. “To see his smile as he rides along with me makes it worth it,” he said.

Their determination earned them the JDRF Spirit Jersey that year. This jersey is presented to the individual who personifies the spirit of Ride—not just on Ride Day but throughout the entire journey.

“My life has improved so much”

Being a JDRF Rider helped Felix achieve his goal of improved physical health. But it also came with some unexpected benefits. “I feel more comfortable with my condition now, knowing that I’m not the only one struggling with this disease,” he said. “My life has improved so much. I have made so many new friends who understand what I’m going through.”

Learn more about JDRF Ride and how you can join the Ride family.