“This was my best day ever. I had fun and got to help others.” These words from my nine-year-old made me smile in an echo of her pride as we neared the end of our 25 km ride in the Tour de Cure. Along with dozens of others, we were riding to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. Even more riders had tackled the 60 and 100 km rides, but 25 km was enough for Rowan’s first event ride.
According to their website, Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 43 states to benefit the ADA. The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. Route lengths vary depending on the ride location, but whether participants ride 10 miles or 100 miles, they travel a route supported from start to finish with rest stops, food to fuel the journey and fans to cheer them on.
In 2009, more than 40,000 cyclists in 80 Tour events raised nearly $17 million to support the mission of the ADA: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
The ADA reports that diabetes, a chronic disease that has no cure, is the seventh leading cause of death by disease in the U.S. It is becoming the new American health epidemic of the century:
• More than 23 million Americans have diabetes – including more than five million who don't even know it.
• An additional 57 million people have pre-diabetes, putting them at great risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
• If present trends continue, one out of every three Americans born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.
• More than $174 billion direct and indirect healthcare costs are attributed to diabetes (2007 statistics).
More information on diabetes and the ADA is available at www.diabetes.org.
The Tour de Cure website, located at www.tour.diabetes.org, has an interactive map that allows you to find the ride in your area, register to ride or join a team, and provides everything you need to know about fundraising. You even get your own, personalized webpage to track your fundraising, send thank you notes and let your supporters know how you’re doing. With a minimum requirement of only $150, it’s easy to participate in Tour de Cure.
The variety of ride lengths also makes it easy to make Tour de Cure a family event. Participating in our local ride were children as young as 6 or 7, some wearing the red t-shirt marking them as a rider with diabetes. For Rowan and I, the ride provided a great opportunity to talk about what diabetes is and what might contribute to the disease. Additionally, as we talked about how the obstacles we faced in our ride, namely big hills, made us stronger, she made the connection to obstacles faced by those with diabetes and how her obstacles were nothing in comparison. A great ride and a learning opportunity: what more could a mother ask for?
Tour de Cure rides take place all year long. Go to the website, sign up to support the ADA, and take the ride of your life!