Geoff Giles hopes to ride his souped-up Harley to a land speed record of 200 mph, all in the name of diabetes research and his daughter, Hayden. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was fourteen-months-old. Now she's three-and-a-half and healthy. With the technology currently available, Giles is hoping and expecting her to live a full and nearly normal life.
Even so, Hayden's condition inspired Giles to do something to support diabetes education, treatment and research. He'd really like to find a cure. But the former professional motorcyclist-turned-bike customizer-turned fabricator wanted a different way to raise awareness and money for the cause. "It's exciting. It's different. It's fast. It's loud," he says.
Starting Sunday and going through Wednesday, he'll be racing against the clock at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials in the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah to break the world speed record for his bike's class under his the foundation's name, "Haydos Heroes." He then plans on taking the hopefully world-record-holding bike to events and grab new diabetes-research supporters.
"Diabetes function fundraisers are generally events put together -- golf tournaments, luncheons, dinners, balls and all kinds of extravaganzas," Giles notes. It's stuff a large segment of the population is unlikely to attend. That's why he says, "I want to go after the people who would never even think of supporting diabetes, who'll go 'Wow, this is a really cool thing you're doing.'" And instead of holding fundraising events, he'll be selling T-shirts, stickers, and even custom-designed, star-shaped diamond necklaces donated by Denver Diamond Company.
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The Haydo's Heroes foundation has only been going for a month, but Giles has already found numerous sponsors -- corporate ones like Oakley, which donated sunglasses he's planning on auctioning off, as well as neighbors like the owner of One Stop Printing, who he didn't know had been touched by the ailment, too. After asking her to do a few prints for the foundation, he learned she's had diabetes for more than twenty years.
Proceeds from Haydo's Heroes is earmarked for the Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. Giles hopes a lot of the money will go to educating parents of children who've recently been diagnosed, as well as supporting parents who can't afford quality care. "It's expensive. Every month you have to go out and buy test strips and insulin and syringes," he says. "If we can help make that easier, then great.
"I want to have a license plate in two years," he adds. "They have them for breast cancer, why can't I get one in two years? I want to make this big."
Read more about living with type 1 in our August 3 feature Illboard: A diabetic artist takes to the streets."