Sebastian’s Journey: Riding for awareness and change

March 28, 2024

On Sunday 21 April 2024, a group of passionate cyclists are embarking on a wonderful fundraising initiative in memory of Sebastian Stafford, a cherished member of the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community.  

Amateur cyclists from all areas of life will be taking on a 130km hard cycle from Bella Vista to the breathtaking Bowral to raise funds for Diabetes Australia and JDRF Australia. 

After receiving a diagnosis at a young age, Sebastian faced an ongoing battle managing his condition. Despite the support from his family and educators he grappled with the burden of daily insulin injections and the relentless calculations required to maintain his blood glucose levels. His journey was fraught with hospitalisations and, tragically, it was diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) that claimed his life in September 2023. 

Moved by Sebastian’s story and inspired to make a difference, Jano and Paul Yousseph (JPY Group), close friends of Sebastian’s family, took action.  

“Sebastian’s passing affected us immensely,” shares Paul Yousseph. “We knew we had to do something to raise awareness and support those affected by type 1 diabetes.” 

Jano and Paul are motivated to raise awareness about the mental health issues related to type 1 diabetes and have set a target of raising $100,000.  

“So many families are impacted by type 1 diabetes. We want to find better ways to support both the mental and physical health of individuals living with this condition.” 

“Diabetes burnout and fatigue are very real. Our goal is to support organisations which are developing more effective strategies for promoting the physical and emotional well-being of people with type 1 diabetes.” 

Reflecting on Sebastian’s memory, his father Richard Stafford spoke about a moving instance from his son’s life.  

A memory that makes me smile is the first sporting event that he participated in after his diagnosis. He played soccer and scored a spectacular goal, beaming with pride. The smile on his face beamed across the sports field and let us know that he wasn’t broken.” 

“Events like Sebastian’s Journey remind us of the importance of coming together as a community to support one anotherThere are support groups and resources available to help navigate this journey.” 

Stafford further emphasises the significance of raising awareness and reaching out for support.  

“Type 1 diabetes is not a death sentence. It’s a relentless management process, but you’re not alone. I will do everything in my power to keep others from going through the same struggles that Sebastian experienced. 

Jano and Paul hope to replicate Tour De Cure’s success and raise enough money to make Sebastian’s Journey an annual occasion.  

“Our goal is to continue raising awareness and support for diabetes-related causes,” Paul says.  

“We want to be advocates and work with various groups to bring attention to the plight of individuals living with type 1 diabetes.” 

Sebastian may no longer be with us, but his spirit lives on through the tireless efforts of individuals like Jano and Paul Yousseph, dedicated to making a meaningful impact in the fight against T1D. Join us as we embark on Sebastian’s Journey, one pedal stroke at a time. 

Sebastian’s Journey will kick off in the early hours of the morning at Bella Vista in Sydney’s northwest and conclude at Bowral’s Glebe Park. The route promises a tough 1,600m of climbing in addition to breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or simply passionate about making a difference, there are numerous ways to get involved. 

Paul and Jano encourage the T1D community to gather at the finish line at around 1:30pm to cheer on riders and celebrate their incredible accomplishment. Attendees can also enjoy a BBQ for family, friends, supporters and donors, served from 12:30pm.   

If you’d like to be part of this meaningful journey or learn more about the fundraising event, please email You can also contribute to the fundraiser via the JDRF Blue Army website here.