Even when Jarod Waters was a young boy, giving back to people was on his mind.
Jarod has a development disability that went undiagnosed in the first couple of years after he was born.
The Victoria resident spent months at the B.C. Children’s Hospital getting blood tests done several times a day.
When he was three years old, he would carry a baby soother with him in his backpack
“He needed that to comfort him,” said his grandmother Jennifer Waters. “After, he kept wanting his little backpack and soother that he carried around, in case he saw a baby that had lost theirs.”
Jarod was eventually diagnosed with a form of Branchial Arch Syndrome, a genetic disorder that typically disrupts the development of tissues in the neck.
But that hasn’t stopped him from giving back to the community.
Next month, he will be taking part in the Ride for Refuge — a five, 10, 25 or 50-kilometre bike ride in support of the Cridge Centre for the Family.
This isn’t the first time the now 14-year-old has raised funds for local organizations.
When he was eight-years-old, he started a bottle drive to raise money for hospice after a close neighbour passed away. The campaign continues to this day with people donating their bottles and cans, and Jarod has raised more than $6,000.
“I like helping people and I want to help the hospice get enough technology to help people and make them feel like they’re at home,” Jarod said, adding this will be the second year he participates in the ride.
But it hasn’t been without setbacks.
Last week, Jarod’s bike, lock and helmet were stolen from outside his home — a move that shocked him.
Shannon Johnson, Waters’ work colleague, set up an online fundraising campaign to raise money for a new bike.
“(Jennifer) is always helping. She’s done a very good job with Jarod and they do a lot of charity work,” she said. “She’s always on Facebook sending good prayers to terminally-ill children and their families or recovering children from cancer.”
Within a few days, the community the family supports helped them reached their $1,000 goal.
Now, Jarod is ready to hop back on a new bike and make the 25-kilometre ride for the Cridge Centre.
The Ride for Refuge takes place on Oct. 3 and begins at the Saanich Community Church.