Jeff Newell, 56, who has lived with and been treated for juvenile onset diabetes since he was 11, is driving his 1956 John Deere Tractor from Arlington Washington to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, a 6000 mile roundtrip trek to raise awareness and money the American Diabetes Association
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“Diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life.” And you can't go out and live life to the fullest and have amazing adventures. He plans to raise $500,000 for the American Diabetes Association to support diabetes research. Over the past eight months of late nights spent in the shop, Jeff stripped down his 1956John Deere 820 tractor – every bearing and every seal – then reassembled it piece by piece to get it ready for the trip. The journey is unsupported, other than his travel partner, Ron Wachholtz, who will be making the trip with his own Ford tractor.
Jeff thinks it will take 3-4 weeks to get to Prudhoe Bay averaging 200 miles per day, if all goes well, any hold ups or challenges.
About 1.25 million children and adults in the U.S. have Type 1 diabetes, representing about 5 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015, with 79,535 people stricken, statistics show.
Jeff's trek will start in Arlington over the North Cascades Highway to Oroville in Eastern Washington, then follow a path across the Canadian border through Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon along Trans-Canada Highway 1. In Dawson Creek, the route will pick up again on Highway 2 through the Yukon before arriving in Fairbanks. From there, the tractors will join the Dalton Highway for a final leg across the tundra north to Prudhoe Bay. And then head back south again on the return trip back to Arlington WA.