UWO students run to Rio to fight diabetes

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

LeAnne Dyck and Brian Groot running in the snow

Joyce Wang

"MY DOCTOR SAID JOGGING COULD ADD YEARS TO MY LIFE. HE WAS RIGHT — I FEEL 10 YEARS OLDER ALREADY." Western student LeAnne Dyck and staff member Brian Groot are travelling to Rio De Janeiro this summer to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Until a couple weeks ago, Western student LeAnne Dyck and staff member Brian Groot had never met. Now they’re both training hard and brainstorming fundraising ideas with Team Diabetes, a Canadian Diabetes Association fundraising initiative. As the only London representatives, the pair will travel with the CDA to Rio de Janeiro to run a marathon in June.

Dyck and Groot chose Rio de Janeiro from several international ventures offered by the CDA and must fundraise $6,100 in various instalments by their marathon date.

According to Courtney Sidsworth, a Team Diabetes assistant, once trip costs are covered, all the money raised by each participant will go towards the CDA’s mission to promote Canadians’ health through diabetes research, education, services and advocacy.

Dyck, a fifth-year medical science and Ivey student, heard about Team Diabetes after her grandfather suffered a serious diabetes-related heart attack. She also has a close friend living with type-1 diabetes and she wanted to help somehow.

She immediately knew she had found her cause.

“Team Diabetes fits in well with raising awareness because it promotes a healthy lifestyle,” Dyck said.

Groot is a 21-year-old seasoned marathon runner from Strathroy who works as an apprentice at university machine services in the Thompson Engineering Building. He already has three marathons under his belt and is excited to go to Brazil because it will help him complete his goal of running a marathon on every continent, including Antarctica.

He said his family also has a history of diabetes, so raising money for the CDA will make this marathon his most important to date.

Though Dyck has never run a marathon before, she looks forward to the personal challenge.

“The [CDA] has a partnership with The Running Room, so I’ll start training with them soon, and I’m already doing weights and running both outside and at the gym...But I’m really going to have to get my mileage up soon if I’m going to get through 42 kilometres.”

Groot is currently doing one 25-30 kilometre run per week along with swimming and biking. He said when the marathon approaches he’ll run up to 80 kilometres per week.

To raise the money Dyck and Groot have had to get creative. Both have received support from their friends and families, and they are in the process of organizing events like pub nights at The Barking Frog and Jim Bob Ray’s.

Groot plans to hold a barbecue at Superstore in Strathroy, and he’s also working on organizing a betting pool for how long it will take him to finish.

“I’m confident I’ll finish in under three and a half hours, but 3:20 would be great,” Groot said. “So that will be the most expensive time to buy.”

“I’ve never done this before, and people keep asking how I’m going to get through it,” Dyck said. “But I know I can get through it. I’m promoting health, my grandpa’s walking all the time, and everyone wants me to finish.”

Support Dyck and Groot by making a tax-deductible donation at www.teamdiabetes.ca.

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