It was a short, but proud smile that captured the moment.
Dan Webster stood tall beside his son, thirteen-year-old Sam, who inspired almost 20 people to take a crazy leap into a 144-kilometre bike ride across the peace.
The group gathered early Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Taylor boat launch and finished almost nine hours later amongst a crowd of family and friends at the W.A.C. Bennett dam in the first annual Tour of the Peace.
The elder Webster was still in awe of what the entire group accomplished in the first year of the ride.
“Everybody was very supportive,” he said, still catching his breath shortly after the finish Saturday.
“We rode together, we fought the wind together. It’s exactly what you expect to see out of a ride like this. We’re riding for charity. We’re riding to raise money for diabetes and the people that do that, they’re good people and it really showed today and we had a good group out there today.”
And raise money they did, over $15,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a cause that first came to Dan’s attention when his son Sam was diagnosed with type one diabetes in January of 2015 and almost lost his life.
Sam also provided a light of inspiration for the group; pushing along through the ride, despite his longest training ride being just half the distance of the actual Tour of the Peace.
“It was tough, but definitely worth it in the end. I’m glad that I did it… I doubled the distance. Surprisingly, the 73 and the 144 there wasn’t much difference in my legs, but it took a lot more time,” Sam said after the ride.
“Like most sports you come into it because you love to do the sport and you’re excited to ride or do whatever you’re doing. It was fun.”
Dan went on to explain that the tough conditions probably added more than 30 kilometres to the ride, just another one of the many reasons he was proud of what was accomplished.
“It was a good ride. Windy day, so that was a challenge, “ he said. “So you can basically equate that to adding another 30 kilometres on the distance. It was tough, but what a bunch of troopers. They all did it. There was some toughness on some of the hills but overall everybody did really well.”
Sam added he was proud of all those who donated and even the volunteers that came to help out to support the ride and said his goal wasn’t just to finish for himself, but everyone who has diabetes.
“That to me is what everyone in life should do— to have a goal like that, to achieve something and help other people. Because it’s great that, I’m not just doing it for myself, I’m doing it for everybody who has diabetes,” he said.
That alone brought a smile to the proud father’s face.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Dan added.
“I know he’s a good athlete and I know he’s strong but just to see him rise above something like type one diabetes is really cool and I hope it sends a message to other kids too that they don’t have to let any of these diseases hold you back. Just persevere.”
Donations will continue to be taken for the next several weeks and plans are already in the works for the second Tour of the Peace next August.