The Leaders of Tomorrow Award, sponsored by Encana, recognizes youth who make a difference in Calgary through their volunteer activities. Three individuals are recognized each year in the elementary, junior high and senior high categories for their energy, commitment and character as volunteers.
Riley Beatty is a young man on a mission. When he was 9 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, which spurred his quest to help find a cure for the disease.
The courageous Beatty had told his parents, “I don’t have a disease; it’s just something that makes me unique.”
Unique is indeed the perfect word to describe this extraordinary boy who has made it his life’s goal to make life better for everyone afflicted with diabetes.
“Well, I didn’t feel like I needed to live with diabetes for the rest of my life and I wanted to make a difference, so I just started volunteering,” said Beatty.
Riley Beatty’s Annual Skate-a-Thon is his brainchild. It is a fun event where 50 of his hockey teammates, friends, and family get together, skate and play games on the ice for half an hour to raise funds for the diabetes research.
Two years later, 11-year old Beatty has raised $50,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) through his fundraising efforts. Encouraged by his success and peoples’ support, he has set his sights on an even greater goal.
“I want to raise $1,000,000 for diabetes,” said a determined Beatty. “I’m going to do this by consistently doing skate-a-thons until I make that mark and probably keep doing skate-a-thons after that, too.”
“Riley’s one in a million in that he wants to raise a $1,000,000 for our organization,” said Beth Thompson, Manager of Fundraising and Development at JDRF. “The other impact that he has is on the other volunteers. Hearing his story and hearing how motivated he is to make a difference makes them want to do more. Something that makes him stand out is that he inspires other volunteers to want to do better.”
For Beatty, volunteering is a positive experience and he enjoys the perks he gets out of helping out: seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces and feeling good inside.
“It’s good for youth to volunteer, ‘cause we can set an impact on adults, and then the adults can volunteer, and then it just becomes like a circle, so then everybody starts volunteering,” said a very insightful Beatty.
Even at such a young age, Beatty is already an inspiration for his strength and selflessness.
Riley Beatty is this year’s recipient of the Leaders of Tomorrow Award – Elementary division, one of the award categories of the 16th Annual Leadership Awards.