People We Love – Shawn Hunter

 

Shawn Hunter

“Living a healthier life really allows you to take control of your life.  In changing my own life around I stumbled upon become a mentor without setting out to do so.  Many people have reached out to me as a result of being inspired about my story.  Knowing that I have made a great impact in the live of others is quite humbling. And besides spending time with my daughter or being on my bike, I truly enjoy helping people and make a difference.

You are in control of your own future.  My advice to anyone who is interested in taking up cycling is to make sure you take advantage of the great places to ride in Central New York. You should try to use your time to cycle as  “you” time.  Think of it as a time to focus on you and to destress. Forget your worries and think of how beneficial your bike ride is to your overall sense of health and well-being. “

 

About Shawn

When you meet Shawn Hunter for the first time, you notice that he is a giant bear of a man. Look closer and you’ll also see that his heart is of similar size.  Shawn is from Cicero and served in the Army for seven years.  He spent some time living in both Texas and Louisiana before returning to Central New York in 2002 to assist with helping out his ill father.  Shawn has been working as an EMT dispatcher with Rural Metro for 10 years.  He has a 3 year old daughter who has been the motivation for him to improve his health and to quit drinking.  Shawn has found a passion in cycling; he is consumed with joy over the fact that he can now be a role model for her to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Why did you take up cycling?

I was diagnosed with diabetes and at the time I did not want to believe it so I avoided taking any medication and continued to drink.  I had told my doctor that I would control my diabetes without medication, but later came to the realization that I had to quit drinking and live a healthier life.  I have been sober for over 50 weeks, and I could not be more proud of my decision to manage my medication and understand how imperative it is for me to eat healthy and exercise.

What were your thoughts when looking to purchase a bike?

I am not a small guy, as I am 6’6”and at the time I weighed almost 300 pounds.  I needed to get something that was going to fit me and most importantly be comfortable.  When I went to Syracuse Bicycle I was not sure that I was going to find what I needed.  Due to back problems, I knew that I could not handle the position a road bike would put me.   I decided to go with a hybrid as this would allow me to sit up in a taller, more relaxed position.  The Trek 7.2 FX was exactly what I was looking for.  This bike had to be “dug out”and built, but it was worth waiting a few days.  If this bike had not been found I highly doubt that I would have ever bought a bike.

You have done a lot of charity rides.  What  is in store for you this year?

This year I will be challenging myself to do longer rides.  I recently rode in the 5 BORO ride in New York City.  Last year I completed the 25 miles at the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride, and this year I will be doing the 50 mile ride.  In June, I will be doing the 62.5 mile Tour de Cure ride.  I have decided to start to get more involved with Tour de Cure, knowing that I will be affected by diabetes the rest of my life.  In October I plan to go to New Jersey to do the Twin Lights Ride, which is a 55 mile ride where there are five different routes.  I have a goal this year to ride the middle distance ride, typical 50-62 miles, at each event I do.  I am already planning for next year, as I want to do my first century ride.

I also do a lot of work with the St Baldrick’s Foundation. Last year I hosted my own event and was able to raised over $4,000 and the event itself raised $12,000.  Supporters included a lot of veterans and the mayor of North Syracuse was there and he wasn’t going to participate but with it being my 7th year in a row, and you get recognized by St Baldrick’s during your 7th year, the North Syracuse mayor decided to shave his head.

How much do you typically ride on a weekly basis?

When I get on my bike I typically do not have an exact route planned out and I ride until I feel like I have ridden long enough.  My only destination is that I know that I need to get back home. I plan to get  70 miles of riding in each week. For me, being on my bike motivates me to stick to a healthy lifestyle and is a stress reliever.  I have the ability to as slow or as fast as I want.  I can just ride, with no set path and not worry about anything.

What has cycling taught you? Is there any advices that you can give a novice cyclist?

Living a healthier life really allows you to take control of your life.  In changing my own life around I stumbled upon become a mentor without setting out to do so.  Many people have reached out to me as a result of being inspired about my story.  Knowing that I have made a great impact in the live of others is quite humbling. And besides spending time with my daughter or being on my bike, I truly enjoy helping people and make a difference.

shawn hunter

You are in control of your own future.  My advice to anyone who is interested in taking up cycling is to make sure you take advantage of the great places to ride in Central New York. You should try to use your time to cycle as  “you” time.  Think of it as a time to focus on you and to destress. Forget your worries and think of how beneficial your bike ride is to your overall sense of health and well-being.

SUPPORT SHAWN

This year will be Shawn’s 8th year being part of the St Baldrick’s Foundation and he will also be riding the Tour de Cure.

Please help Shawn in in his efforts to raise funds for those battling cancer and diabetes by clicking on the links below and making a generous donation:

St Baldrick’s:

http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/657790/2014

Tour de Cure:

tour.diabetes.org