American Diabetes Association's Upstate NY Tour de Cure returns to in-person ride
For the first time in two years, the American Diabetes Association’s Upstate New York Tour de Cure is being held in-person. The annual fundraising bike ride had shifted to a virtual model during the COVID-19 pandemic. WAMC’s Jim Levulis spoke with Jeff Collins, the ADA’s Upstate New York executive director, about the June ride.
Collins: We're really excited. We are back in person, for the first time in two years with the Tour de Cure. You know, we’ve transitioned and now we're actually bringing together all of our participants across from Upstate New York. So we're really excited that on June 11 in Webster, New York, participants from Buffalo, Albany, everywhere in between, are actually going to be able to get together and ride on tour day.
Levulis: And last year was the first that the four communities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany joined together for the Tour de Cure. Now the past two years though, the event has been virtual. How has the merger worked out though so far?
Collins: Yeah, so it's been great. I think, you know, it's a testament to the passion and commitment to our mission, that our participants have stuck with us through two virtual years. And they've started developing new relationships with riders from other cities that they may not have known. You know, we're doing everything that we can to ensure everyone has a great tour experience, and we know that not everyone is able to make it to tour day. So we're working with teams and volunteers in some of our communities to offer a ride, you know, if you can't make it done the thruway that day, you know, your team is going to ride locally or another team is going to ride so everyone is going to be out on the road, wearing their ADA gear, their team gear in support of our mission on tour day.
Levulis: And will there be any components of the virtual events from the past two years that will carry forward this year and beyond?
Collins: Yeah, so I think, you know, something we've learned as an organization is the importance of the virtual aspect and the connectivity. I believe we actually have a participant who is living in Washington, so across the country, and they're going to participate in the tour. They're not sure if they're going to make the trip yet, but if not, they can still ride with us on tour day. So you know, all of our events have a virtual component. And we're still finalizing details on how we're going to integrate that on tour day. But we're definitely going to be sharing everyone's social media posts. So we're encouraging everyone to, even if you're not there with us on tour day to post on social media. But you know, we're one upstate, and our theme for this year is ‘we ride together.’ So whether you're with us in person, or you're in a different part of the state, the country, the world, we're all riding together.
Levulis: And how has interest been so far with the return to the in-person ride?
Collins: It's been great. I think people are just super excited to see one another. We have hosted our kickoff in-person. I think everyone's just so excited to connect again, and be with one another. So we're really excited to see the interest. And looking forward to everyone coming out there.
Levulis: This year's event, this year's ride, the main ride is taking place in Webster as you mentioned. Will the event, the main ride, move to some of the other participating Upstate cities in coming years?
Collins: So it's something we're definitely open to. At this point, we haven't made any decisions. We wanted to kind of see how first year back in-person was going to go. But, nothing's out of the question. You know, we want to be in the communities that we serve. And you know, we're always trying to figure out the best way to do that.
Levulis: And what's the fundraising goal for this year's Tour de Cure?
Collins: Yeah, so our fundraising goal for this year is $750,000. You know, we're heading back on our road to a million dollars to be in the number one tour in the country again, but we're super excited to see the progress so far. And we feel good about reaching that goal.
Levulis: And finally, if I'm interested in taking part in the 2022 Tour de Cure on June 11th in Webster, what is the best way to do that?
Collins: So you can go to diabetes.org/upstatetour, and you can register. Like I said, you can participate virtually, or you can come join us in Webster. We are offering opportunities for fundraisers to earn free hotel rooms. Everyone who is coming into town has an opportunity for a discounted hotel room. We've even had some teams and participants offer up their homes to fellow riders. So we're really excited and you can go to diabetes.org/upstatetour to register.