The American Diabetes Association, Western New York Chapter, has named Vincent Harrer, of Lockport, its Youth Ambassador for the 2013 Tour de Cure, a bicycle ride and fundraiser which takes place June 8 along Lake Ontario.
Vincent, a fourth-grader at DeSales Catholic School, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 7 years old. An avid athlete, who is a member of the DeSales swim team, also plays soccer and lacrosse. Vincent rode six miles in last year’s tour, raising nearly $3,000 and also rode in the 2011 Tour.
"I want to go way over $3,000 this year. I’m at almost $2,000 right now," Vincent said in a news release. "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 seven-year-old brother, Grant, to ride the six-mile course again this year. He and his friends have been doing training rides around his neighborhood to get ready.
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. 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," Bakeman said.
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. 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," Harrer said.
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 Office, 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.
To donate directly to Vincent’s fund, go to the Buffalo Tour de Cure home page, click the "Donate" icon and enter Vincent Harrer as the designated rider.
More than 1,000 riders of all abilities expected to participate in this year’s race. In 2012, 970 riders raised $370,271. The fundraising goal for this year’s Tour is $394,000 and 1,150 riders.
The race starts at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn. To register or for more information, visit diabetes.org/buffalotour.