A Williams Lake resident living with type-one diabetes will run a 60-kilometre Ultra Mountain Run, Trailstoke Revy, in July in Revelstoke.
Steve Harkies, 45, who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 23 while attending school at the University of British Columbia, has been putting in rigorous hours of training in preparation for the event, which takes place July 19 at Mount Revelstoke.
He’s also added an interesting twist to his fundraising campaign. As an artist, Harkies will be completing close to 200 original acrylic, watercolour paintings of Cariboo and Chilcotin landscapes for donations of $150 and more to his cause, with a goal of raising $20,000 this year.
“It’s amazing with more than $9,000 collected so far we have barely scratched the surface in terms of those that may be interested in supporting the campaign,” Harkies said. “Everyone knows someone with diabetes. We are all affected by this disease. We’re hoping to create a great buzz around this campaign, and we’re thankful to have such great community support. I’m sure we can easily blow our $20,000 goal out of the water.”
In 2006 Harkies and his wife, Emily Sonntag, helped raise more than $12,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association, along with 200 other fundraisers from across Canada in the Reykjavik, Iceland marathon. Sonntag, Harkies said, makes sure he’s on the right track in his training, along with making sure his nutritional levels are up to par.
This year’s event, at 10,000 feet of elevation, will be a challenge, Harkies said. He noted a friend, Bhavna Pooni — who will also be taking part in the event — suggested he participate. Harkies was immediately excited to start training.
“I love the training aspect,” he said. “Really enjoy getting out and putting the miles on. I wish I could have been training on trails all winter and spring, but better now than never. I love going out and exploring new areas, as well as all of our fantastic mountain bike and hiking trails around Williams Lake.”
If anyone is interested in donating to Harkies cause you can contact him at 250-398-8296. He also has a Facebook page (Diabetes Fundraiser: Steve Harkies and Emily Sonntag) with photos of his paintings, fundraising updates, training highlights and more. You can also visit www.diabetes.ca to make a donation by searching for Harkies or Sonntag.