Jackson Mijs took in the beautiful scenery of the Sutter Buttes on Saturday along with about 800 other bicyclists. Unlike the others, though, he didn’t have to pedal once.
It was a different story for his father, Jason Mijs, who towed his young son in a bike trailer for the 17.5-mile ride.
“Carrying the little guy was definitely extra work, but it was beautiful today,” Jason Mijs said.
For the Mijs and other family members, it was the first time they had participated in the annual Bike Around the Buttes event, organized by the Yuba-Sutter Diabetes Support and Resource Center. The event is something they’ve wanted to do for a while.
“It’s nice to be able to do something as a family while helping raise money for people diagnosed with diabetes,” said Angela Gross, a relative of the Mijses.
The annual event featured three different rides: a 17.5-mile course, a 40-mile route around the Buttes and a 100-mile trek, for the most avid bicyclists.
Jadon Bloomfield, 17, also took part in the 17.5-mile course with his friend, Richie Smith, 16.
“It was pretty interesting. I’m not big on bikes, but we wanted to do it to help raise donations,” said Bloomfield, who has Type 1 diabetes. “We are riding for diabetes.”
The event typically raises about $40,000 to help the Yuba-Sutter Diabetes Support and Resource Center pay for things like sending children to diabetes camps, monthly classes, putting together support groups for families and providing supplies and other education materials at the center, among a variety of other things.
“All of the proceeds stay local. This is the only resource center of its kind in a 100-mile radius,” said Jacque Mooney, president of the center’s Board of Directors. “This is our biggest fundraising event of the year and it basically helps us provide our services to families for free.”
The organization took over the “family-fun ride” event about eight years ago. The nonprofit’s
executive director, Ouida Wakefield, started the organization in 2005 after her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“Finding other people with the same diagnoses is important because it’s easier to understand what they are going through. Having a support network allows you to vent to each other. It’s an important part of the process,” Wakefield said.
The group’s motto is “you’re not alone.” Type 1 diabetes brought Wakefield and Mooney together, because both of their daughters were diagnosed at a young age.
“The best part is seeing the community come together to help our organization fulfill our mission. We have a passion for this,” Mooney said.
Aside from raising money for the organization, their goal is to raise awareness about the disease and to make it more visible, thereby dissociating diabetes from its negative stigma.
Wakefield said oftentimes people will come into the resource center right after being diagnosed, afraid of the unknown. She said her organization is a support network that can provide everything from classes and recipes to information about how to use an insulin pen or blood glucose meter.
“I think it’s really great to know there are people who are going out of their way to do something to help people with diabetes,” said Allie Mooney, the current Miss Yuba-Sutter who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 18 years ago, which prompted her mother to get involved in the effort.
Wakefield said those interested in helping can donate to the resource center. All donations are tax deductible, she said. To donate, call 763-4171 or email email@example.com.