[IP] Charity ride for JDRF tragedy
Charity ride turns tragic as two cyclists run down
>From Tuesday's Globe and Mail July 1, 2008 at 12:38 AM EDT
It was a daring dream by an exceptional man. Daniel Hurtubise had spent two
years organizing a bicycling trip across Canada with his two teen children
that would raise money and increase awareness of Type 1 diabetes, the
condition he lived with from age 15.
They left Vancouver in mid-June, joined by Robert Carrier, a cancer survivor
and father of six who retired early and wealthy after selling his high-tech
The journey ended in tragedy Sunday, on a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway
near Brandon, when a passing car hit them, killing the two men.
Mr. Hurtubise's two children were also injured. Sonia, 16, remained in
hospital in Brandon with a leg injury, while her brother, Alex, 19, was
Mr. Hurtubise, 50, had survived four episodes of diabetic coma. Nevertheless,
he was an avid athlete, a former competitive swimmer who took a sabbatical
from his marketing job in Montreal for the project he dubbed Ride of a
"He wanted to inspire young people, to show them that you could live a normal
life even if you had diabetes," said family friend Frangoise Le Guillou.
Mr. Carrier, 45, leaves behind a wife and six children - two girls and four
boys - ranging in age from 31/2 to 21 years old. The cross-country ride was a
long-time dream for a man who had survived skin cancer, said his wife,
"We were so proud of what he was doing," she said from Kelowna, B.C., where
the Montreal-born Mr. Carrier had relocated so his children could learn
Mr. Carrier had donated $10,000 to the project, the bulk of the $15,881 the
trip had raised so far for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Foundation president Andrew McKee said Mr. Hurtubise's work was appreciated
because growing numbers of people, at increasingly younger ages, are hit with
juvenile diabetes, also known as Type 1.
While about two million Canadians have diabetes, Type 1 is the lesser-known of
the two forms of the disease, he said. Type 1 is not a lifestyle illness and
strikes people at a young age.
Despite a condition that required testing his blood several times a day and
injecting himself with insulin, Mr. Hurtubise had a zest for life. "He's a
teenager who happens to be 50 years old," Ms. Le Guillou said.
Early in June, he left his home in Saint-Bruno, south of Montreal, with his
two children and some friends and relatives, driving to B.C. in an RV. A film
crew also followed them occasionally for a TV documentary.
On June 14, the ride began at Vancouver's Stanley Park. They hoped to raise
half a million dollars by the time they hit St. John's in mid-August.
Once in Kelowna, the group stayed at the lakeside home of Mr. Carrier, an
engineer who wanted to join the trip.
Mr. Carrier had been the CEO of Safework Inc., a firm whose software creates
virtual human models to help design plane cockpits and other tight workspaces.
The company, for example, scanned the body of F1 driver Michael Schumacher so
Ferrari engineers could optimize the shape of his racing car.
Mr. Carrier retired in his 30s after selling his firm. He was looking for new
challenges and hit it off with Mr. Hurtubise, Ms. Carrier said.
During their journey, the four cyclists only had one day of rain but
confronted other difficulties, from flies to Mr. Hurtubise's fluctuating
On his blog, he wrote that between Swift Current and Moose Jaw, "the whole day
I had a terrible headache, I was weak and could not think straight . A bad day
for a diabetic trying to control his/her energy is much worst than riding 177
By the time they hit Manitoba, they had left a deep impression on people who
crossed their paths. Regina radio host Brad Grass recalled the relationship
between Mr. Hurtubise and his children during a visit at his station, Big Dog
"The connection between them was intangible and palpable at the same time, and
it left me wondering what I could do to build on my own relationship with my
children . he inspired me to be a better person, and a better father.. That
was the kind of man Daniel was," Mr. Grass wrote on his blog.
On their journey, the cyclists were followed from behind by their RV, which
flashed its amber lights.
The accident occurred around noon, near Virden, 290 kilometres west of
Ms. Carrier said the RCMP told her that a Honda Civic tried to pass the group
and apparently swerved back too quickly, sideswiping the four cyclists.
The Honda's driver, a 27-year-old from Virden, wasn't injured.
No charges have been filed and the RCMP is continuing its investigation, said
Staff Sergeant Line Karpish. She said alcohol is not believed to be a factor
in the accident.
Her voice breaking, Ms. Carrier recalled speaking with her husband the night
"These were good people," she said.
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