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State High counselor Suzanne Lyke (far left) poses with Lewis Yeaple and his parents Katherine and Stephen. With the support of teachers and community members, Yeaple successfully cycled 500 miles over five days this Spring Break and raised money for the American Diabetes Association.

On March 28, Lewis Yeaple, a senior at State High, hit the 500 mile mark. Yeaple spent five days over Spring Break pedaling around Centre County to achieve a personal goal and support a cause that hits close to home.

At age four, Yeaple was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes— and for as long as he can remember, blood sugar monitors and insulin injection have been part of his daily life. That’s why he decided to turn his graduation project into a benefit for the American Diabetes Association. “For anyone that has a medical condition, if they feel limited, they need to know that there is always a way to work through the condition and complete whatever goal they set for themselves,” said Yeaple. And as an avid cyclist, it just felt right to tie his passion for cycling into his mission to garner support for juvenile diabetes research.

Yeaple set out on March 24 for the opening leg of his journey, with the support of teachers and community members. State High faculty Jen Rand, learning enrichment advisor and Suzanne Lyke, counselor, helped him organize his project, and teachers Jack Lyke and Arthur Entz provided routes and plans for all five days of riding. “The love and support of the community really showed,” said Yeaple. “That has made the event successful.”

Using a CrowdRise page to publicize his project and raise funds, Yeaple set a goal of $1,000—a goal that he has more than tripled. So far, he has brought in $3,850 for the American Diabetes Association and plans to leave the fundraiser open for the duration of the schoolyear. “This event was the best thing that’s happened in my school career,” said Yeaple. But it wasn’t the glory of receiving media coverage or even the athletic achievement that made the project so valuable; it was “the time spent with my teachers and friends and memories I have forever.”

Yeaple hopes to continue empowering fellow diabetics and anyone who feels limited by a medical condition that there is hope. “What completing 500 miles in 5 days really did was open up my horizons,” he said. Next on Yeaple’s agenda? Triathlon training.

Coverage of 500 in 5: Centre Daily Times; StateCollege.com