Ordinary athlete takes on extraordinary challenge for diabetes

July 6, 2010

Ernie Bakker

“I am just an ordinary athlete doing an extraordinary event,” Ernie Bakker said.

On July 11, the 63-year-old Issaquah resident will begin a 3,484-mile bike ride, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The 29-day trip will take him across the United States, from Washington to Virginia.

“Some people would say I am crazy,” he said. “But I can live with that.”

Bakker is motivated by a very personal cause. His 12-year-old granddaughter, Casey Jacobsen, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 4.

The disease affects every aspect of her life. On a daily basis, she must strictly track her carbohydrates and calorie intake, monitor her blood pressure and pump her body with insulin.

“It’s a different life for a kid,” he said. “It is an expensive disease that doesn’t go away.”

Despite her diabetes, Casey remains busy and active. She loves to play guitar, swim and play soccer.

“She does things that any ordinary 12-year-old does,” Bakker said. “She’s just a good kid.”

Bakker’s goal is to raise $20,000 in donations for the foundation.

“This ride is really not about me,” he said. “It’s about getting the word out about juvenile diabetes. It happens to kids like Casey who are healthy. For no reason, it just hits them. We want to find a cure.”

His long journey will start in Everett. Each day, he will average 115 miles and a 4,050-foot climb until Aug. 9, when he reaches Williamsburg, Va. His trek will take him through the scenic country roads of 11 states, including Montana, South Dakota, Illinois and West Virginia. Read more

DOT alerts holiday travelers to another route to Eastern Washington

July 1, 2010

NEW — 11:30 a.m. July 1, 2010

For holiday travelers headed to Eastern Washington, the state Department of Transportation reminded drivers about the detour on state Route 410 — another link to the sunny side of the Evergreen State.

A landslide closed a four-mile stretch of the road in October, but the state opened a detour route 45 days later. The detour route includes a two-lane, 35-mph roadway.

State Route 410 connects King and Yakima counties through scenic Chinook Pass and Mount Rainier National Park. The state prohibits commercial vehicles from the road.

The transportation agency plans to start construction on a permanent route around the landslide next year, and complete the link in 2012. Learn more about the landslide here.

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