Tour de Cure - Warriors in the Fight Against Diabetes

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Have you ever noticed that it's always the events that you aren't really sure you want to attend are the events you are most happy you did?  That's what happened to me today.  Our daughter, Laura, invited us to the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure Red Rider/Champion Dinner. This is a dinner to honor the Red Riders (riders who have diabetes) and riders who have raised over $1,000 in donations for this Sunday's Tour de Cure in Saratoga.    Although we've sponsored three riders this year, we felt a little unworthy attending but it meant a lot to Laura and we were interested to watch her in her new role with the ADA so we went.  I can tell you it was an evening to remember.

In the 35 years since our daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with diabetes, we've been involved with various organizations supporting diabetes research and advocacy, mostly back in the early years following her diagnosis.  During those years, organizations promised a cure for diabetes in five years. As a parent of a baby with diabetes, we clung to that promise and rallied to help in that fight for a cure.  Those five years came and went, then another five years passed and then 20 more.  As you can imagine somewhere along the way, we let go of our dreams, our expectations, and became more or less satisfied with the many advances in diabetes care that DID come along, all of which improved the quality of life for our child with diabetes and the millions of others.  It's been a long, long time since we paid much attention to the fight for a cure and the hard work that is involved in raising money for that fight.  With Laura now the Director of Development for the local American Diabetes Association, we've seen first hand these past few months how much work that effort takes.  Tonight we witnessed the heart behind that fight - the heart, soul and determination of the people who have dedicated themselves to the Tour de Cure, many who have been involved for many years.


Tonight's event recognized the many folks who don't just raise the required $200 to participate, but the men and women who went above and beyond - like David Rosenthal who was the top individual raising $14,354.00.  Another rider also raised $11,000, six people raised over $6,000, several other individuals raised between $2,000 and $5,000.   Families have teamed together to ride too - one of those teams raised over $20,000.  There are 153 teams participating.  Among those very dedicated supporters of the Tour de Cure are corporate teams like Davidson Bros. Drafters -the top team with 243 riders.  They have raised just for THIS tour $80,668.00!!!  In second place is another amazingly dedicated team - the Kivort Steel Cycling Team,  with 116 riders.  They have raised $78,614.00 for this year's tour.   These are only a few! On Sunday, nearly 2000 riders will ride to raise money in the effort to help find a cure for diabetes, advocate for those with diabetes, and so much more.  Riders will ride 10, 28, 50, 62.5 or 100 miles because they either have diabetes or know someone who does and because they have a passion for the cause.
Champion Riders (those raising over $1,000) received a very special medal tonight - a badge of sorts - reminding them of the importance of their commitment and the significant difference they are making in the lives of everyone with diabetes.

Look closely at these medals - bordered by bike chains.   If you can, read the inscription.

But it's not just these Champions who are making a difference.  They are not the only ones to be applauded.  At our table we sat with a 65 yr. old man who is riding for the first time with his family. He hasn't trained, hasn't been on a bike in years, but was committed to this cause and raised over $1,000.  We sat with a woman with Type II diabetes and her husband.  She has a three wheel bicycle and is riding in the Tour for the first time.  We met a young boy, John, who got diabetes when he was four.  He's now in fourth grade and is riding in his second Tour de Cure with his mom and other family members and his school nurse. He wants to be an astronaut when he grows up and I'm pretty sure whatever John aspires to in the future, he'll accomplish.  He already manages his own insulin pump. When I told him about Katie getting diagnosed at ten months, he said to his mom, "I feel sorry for her, that must have been so hard".  Throughout the evening, we were moved by the stories we heard, the dedication we saw in these riders and volunteers - the people who have NOT given up believing in a cure.   Each person we met had a story.  Most were riding with someone in their family, others on a team, some on their own.  Whether it was their first ride or their fifth, each rider, each volunteer felt the same enthusiasm for the challenge they are about to embark on this Sunday.

 I went into the evening feeling a little discouraged because although I sent out about 30 letters and emails to friends and neighbors asking for donations or volunteers, only a handful came through.  It made me a little disappointed in humanity.  Tonight my faith was restored because I was surrounded by just 100 or so of the nearly 2000 riders who believe diabetes can be cured, and they believe it strongly enough to commit to this event.  I felt like I was surrounded by a world who cared and a world who understood.  These people have seen the challenges of a life with diabetes in themselves or in others. Sunday Red Riders will ride too, 149 of them.  Those Red Riders are the reason for the Tour de Cure, they are the people who are champions each and everyday, living with diabetes.

I'm glad I went tonight.  My spirits were lifted, my faith restored.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the wonderful volunteers and each and every rider who has made it their commitment to keep up the fight and not give up on funding to provide better care and hopefully one day a cure for diabetes.  You are an inspiration! Thank you all!

If you want to donate, every dollar makes a difference,  please go to Donate to Tour de Cure today.  Here's some photos from tonight's event.
ADA Tour de Cure
Commitment Board from this year's Kick-off Celebration 

ADA Tour de Cure Saratoga
Nicole DeCelle, Marketing Executive Director
Tour de Cure 2016 Saratoga
Brent Pierce, 2016 Planning Committee Chairperson (his 6th year with the Tour)
Tour de Cure Saratoga 2016
Laura Greenaway, Event Coordinator 
Saratoga Tour de Cure 2016
Laura Greenaway (my daughter) presenting medals.
Tour de Cure, Saratoga
Ben Barrowman, Red Rider with the Ayco Team. Ben was also seen and heard on several radio and t.v. promotions for Tour de Cure this year.
Tour de Cure 2016 Saratoga
Howard Katz, (Middle) from Kivort Steel Team, receiving his medal.
Champion Fundraisers
Some of the Gold Gear Fundraisers getting their medals.
Tour de Cure, Saratoga
David Rosenthal, top fundraiser, getting a hug from Nicolle DeCelle, Market Exec. Director.  I wanted to give him a hug too!

The Saratoga Tour de Cure happens this Sunday (pray for no thunderstorms), June 5th.  For more information go to www.diabetes.org/saratoga .  To read my earlier post about our walk with diabetes, just click here:  http://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2016/04/riding-to-help-find-cure-for-faces-like.html

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