HUNTINGTON -- When West Virginia State Trooper Ron Arthur woke up Sept. 22, he knew something was wrong.
He wasn't able to keep down any food or beverage he consumed, and a visit to the doctor confirmed he had a stomach flu, which wasn't the news he was hoping to hear just days before he began the Almost Heaven Epic Challenge, a 240-mile long triathlon from Morgantown to Huntington, with the goal of raising money and increasing awareness for type 1 diabetes [juvenile diabetes] and the lack of full-time nurses in local school systems.
His 6-year-old daughter, Madi, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost one year ago.
"I was so sick that I couldn't hold my head up, and I thought for a second I would postpone it," Arthur said. "Then I thought about how my daughter can't postpone her diabetes and how it affects her, and I knew I couldn't postpone this."
Thanks to at least half a dozen rehydrating I.V. bags and a multitude of supporters on the road in front of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Marshall University's campus, Arthur reached both his physical and financial objectives as his wife, Tara Arthur, said they had exceeded their $15,000 goal.
By that time, Arthur, accompanied by his father, wife and fellow state troopers, had finished his two-day journey, which was comprised of a five-mile swim in Cheat Lake in Morgantown, from whence he traveled on his bicycle to Hurricane before traveling the last 25 miles to Huntington on foot.
There was no denying Arthur was in rough shape, but he said for all of the pain he felt, he was motivated to complete his challenge that much more.
"In saying this was a roller coaster of emotions, when you think of that, you think of the good parts being at the high points of the roller coaster. Really though, the best part of the roller coaster is on the way down," Arthur said. "It makes you think that maybe you should just be thankful for every part of the ride that you get to experience, so even though I was suffering on my bike, and I might have been suffering while running, I was thanking God that I was healthy enough to be suffering like that and still be able to complete this journey."
Arthur also said he was thankful for the support of his "Miles for Madi" team, which included his wife, Tara, Robert Smith and his West Virginia State Trooper family, including the family of Trooper Eric Workman, who was killed in the line of duty in late August.
"This is not my finish line in this battle," he said. "My finish line comes when there's a cure for type 1 diabetes."
To make a donation, or for more information about Arthur's journey, visit www.facebook.com/milesformadi.