Kaysville 11-year-old Adam Pearce was 6 -- and dressed as Harry Potter -- when he learned he had type 1 diabetes.
It was near Halloween five years ago when the Columbia Elementary School student received the news at Primary Children's Medical Center that he had the more severe, nonpreventable version of the disease and would be dependent on insulin for the rest of his life.
"It was a really strange thing when it happened," said Richelle Pearce, Adam's mother. "One day, we knew nothing about diabetes. Four days later, we knew everything."
It didn't take long for Adam to realize the importance of changing his eating habits.
At the hospital, the Harry Potter doppelganger was asked if he'd like something to drink.
"Make sure it's sugar-free," Adam said, matter-of-factly.
Since then, Adam and his family have become involved with the American Diabetes Association, raising money for research, education and advocacy through the Tour de Cure. That's a bicycle challenge set for Saturday in which riders pedal either 25, 69 or 104 miles. There is also a shorter "family fun" route available that circles Rees Pioneer Park.
The 100-mile route takes riders to the Golden Spike Monument in northwest Utah through the Bear River Bird Refuge. About 1,400 riders will raise $400,000 for the ADA.
Jeff Pearce, Adam's dad, was searching online for a race to participate in when he discovered the Tour de Cure.
After enjoying the experience so much last year, the Pearces will again complete the 25-mile route this weekend.
To gather money for the Tour de Cure, which requires riders to raise at least $150 in addition to a registration fee, Adam arranged a fundraiser at Columbia Elementary. Students could pay 50 cents for the right to wear a hat and pajamas to school one day.
Wearing a fedora and comfy pajama pants, Adam collected $427 from supportive classmates and friends.
"It made me feel really happy," Adam said. "I knew it was going to a good cause."
Richelle Pearce was grateful to Columbia Elementary School faculty and students for chipping in and for showing Adam they care.
"[Adam] couldn't believe it. He had never seen so much money in his life in one place," Pearce said. "After this, he knew that everyone at his school supported him."
Thanks to the Tour de Cure, the Pearces have become more and more involved in helping those with diabetes. For years, they dealt with the disease in a bubble. But after discovering the event, Richelle Pearce became an advocate for the ADA's Safe at School campaign, in which volunteers teach educators about how to accommodate diabetic children in their classrooms.
For her son, the disease has been a mixed blessing.
"[The disease has] been a really hard thing for Adam," Pearce said. "But's it's opened up avenues for him to speak to his school about it and speak to parent groups about it."