Big Country uncle riding 400 miles to raise money for niece with diabetes

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SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Almost one year ago, the Sweetwater community was stepping up to help now 12-year-old Jaedyn Bartee get a service dog to manage her Type 1 Diabetes.

Even though she has her four-legged friend in her arms now, the generosity hasn’t stopped.

Her uncle is now helping out by turning his wheels to turn out some money for Jaedyn.

“I started picking up cycling last year and I really liked it,” said Jaedyn’s uncle, Marcus Bartee.

Even though there’s no set start time or concrete path, Marcus’ reason for riding stays the same each and every time he gets on the bike.

“I thought, ‘Hey, you know what would be a good idea? Is if I rode my bike 400 miles for my niece,'” Marcus says.

Jaedyn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was just six, and after living with it for more than five years, she’s getting a little extra help.

“His name is Zion and it’s spelt Z-I-O-N,” Jaedyn said about her new service dog. “When my sugar is high or low, he’ll paw at me and in the middle of the night, he’ll either jump on me or on my bed.”

What’s left after the meals and the training though is medical expenses, and that’s where Marcus comes in.

“Any type of medical condition, for one, is expensive,” said Marcus. “I didn’t realize insurance for the dog, all the way to having to go back and forth to the doctor. I mean you don’t think about things like that.”

With both feet on the pedals, Marcus is putting the wheels to the pavement to raise money for his niece, who still has miles ahead of her.

“[If people can donate] 10 cents a mile, a quarter a mile, something that’s not a whole lot of money but it makes a difference,” said Marcus Bartee.

While he’s only about half way through his 400 mile journey this August, the Big Country Community is already doing what they do best, donating to the cause.

“It makes my heart warm,” said Marcus. “Especially for her because she’s got to live with this medical condition for a long time.”

If you ask Marcus how he’s getting through the heat and the distance, he’ll say he’s just doing it all for Jaedyn.

“Every time I finish the day I’m happy that I did it,” he says.

As of Tuesday, Marcus has completed 143 miles.

To donate, you can head to Marcus’ Facebook page.


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