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American Diabetes Association's Capital Region Tour de Cure returns for 2023

Bikers take part in the 2022 American Diabetes Association Upstate New York Tour de Cure.
Bikers take part in the 2022 American Diabetes Association Upstate New York Tour de Cure.

For the first time since 2019, the American Diabetes Association is holding its annual biking fundraiser in the Capital Region. The Tour de Cure will be held June 4th at Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa.

WAMC's Jim Levulis spoke with Jeff Collins, the ADA’s Upstate New York Executive Director, about the decision to bring the event back.

Collins: It's because there's such a great community in the Capital Region supporting our mission and the tour. And, you know, we listened to everyone and we wanted to bring this event back, to continue to raise that awareness and, you know, really provide an opportunity for everyone to once again, get involved in supporting the more than 37 million Americans with diabetes, and we couldn't be more excited to be back in the Capital Region.

Levulis: So the last time there was an in-person ride in the Capital Region was in 2019. This year's ride is occurring at Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa on June 4. How many people are expected for the Capital Region ride this year?

Collins: You know, we're hoping our goal is around 800 people. But, you know, we're happy to welcome more. One thing we saw coming out of COVID, you know across our organization is, not everyone was ready to get back to an event where there's a lot of people there. So, you know, we have moderate expectations in terms of the number of people, but we have a great fundraising goal of $450,000. And we're looking forward to having a really great day and the people at Ellms Family Farm have been awesome to work with. And we're excited about, about utilizing their space for the Tour.

Levulis: And the other ride is occurring June 10 in Webster, out in the Rochester area. Is the expectation, the hope that some folks might ride in both?

Collins: We'd certainly encourage it. We had some wonderful folks from the Capital Region, and all across upstate New York, come out to Webster last year for our lone in-person Tour there. And they had a great time and several of them have expressed an interest to come back out and ride in both. And so we definitely encourage that. If you sign up for one of them. And you want to get another ride in, please just reach out to us. And we'll make sure you get registered and take care of all of that. But yeah, we'd love to have people ride both if they want to.

Levulis: And you hinted at it earlier, in 2020 and 2021, the rides were virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, 2022, the in-person ride returns to Webster, but some virtual aspects remained last year. Will that be the case again this year?

Collins: Yeah, I think we learned along with everyone else is that having a virtual option, you can still be connected to a cause, to an organization, to an event, even though you may geographically not be able to attend. So from here on out, you can you can always participate in Tour in a virtual manner, you can sign up for the Capital Region tour, and still ride on your own that day, you'll still be included in everything and still earn all your recognition gifts and all that wonderful stuff. And then we also have, we'll be launching our nationwide Tour, as well. That's for the markets that aren't fortunate enough to have a great event like we're gonna have in the Capital Region. So there's two ways you can participate virtually if you choose.

Levulis: You also mentioned a fundraising goal of $450,000. If I understand it correctly, that's for the Capital Region ride. Last year, the overall fundraising goal was $750,000 if I remember correctly. At the time, you mentioned you hope to get back to a million-dollar goal. What's the overall goal for both rides this year?

Collins: Yeah, so combined both goals, we're looking at $1.2 million is our overall Tour goal for Upstate New York. $450,000 in the Capital Region, and then $750,000 in the Finger Lakes region.

Levulis: So trying to get back to those pre-COVID 19 levels, right?

Collins: Yeah, I mean, it's the need is greater now than it has been. We saw through COVID, increased amputations, increased number of people that are pre-diabetic, individuals having issues with insulin and whatnot. So we're really trying to do our best to provide the resources and the support that they need. And Tour is one of the best ways we can do that, because of all the great sponsors and participants that we have across our region.

Levulis: I think that's a great segue to actually talk about where this money does go toward, and what sort of services it funds.

Collins: Yeah, so I mean it's a conversation that could go on for a really long time. Some of the things that always stick out to me, first and foremost is our Camp Aspire, which is the only camp in New York State for children living with type one diabetes. It takes place down in the Finger Lakes in Rush, New York, we brought back that in-person for the first time this summer, which was fantastic. It also ensures that our call center is open. And we have people that are they're able to provide resources when someone is diagnosed, or they think a loved one is dealing with some issues related to diabetes, they can call up the call center and get some resources. I'm always a big proponent of our living with type two program, which is a free program available in English and Spanish, where when you're diagnosed with type two, it's a program that will help guide you through that journey, overcoming you know, not just what you have to deal with, from a medical standpoint, but dealing with the diagnosis, emotionally, mentally, as well as physically. Those are just a couple of things on top of like all the research that we have going on and our advocacy efforts. There's now an insulin cap for individuals on Medicare. And it's made possible because of the funds, we're able to raise through Tour, the we can go to bat at the state level, at the federal level. So those are just a few of the things that Tour helps make possible.

Levulis: And finally, we're speaking at a time of the year when people may be trying to stick to New Year's resolutions, maybe still setting them. If someone is trying to get or stay in shape in order to take part in one of these Tour de Cure rides this year, any suggestions, thoughts for helping them reach that goal?

Collins: Yeah, I think signing up for tour is a great start, we actually just saw this, it's going to be coming out, we have a cycling guide for all of our participants. And it actually provides you with a training schedule and breakdown, depending on what route you choose. And so getting those rides in. And, you know, being a part of a community that is encouraging health and wellness. So whether you go to a gym, or part of a running or a cycling club. I think if you're surrounded by other folks that are trying to live a healthy, active lifestyle helps kind of keep you motivated, keep you engaged and the Tour community certainly does that. We get great support from a lot of the cycling clubs. And so if you're looking for healthy eating, go to our food hub, diabetesfoodhub.org gives you great recommendations on alternatives to some of your favorite meals and maybe swapping out some ingredients that might be a little bit more healthy for you. And I think if you take those simple but impactful steps at this time of the year, engage with our tour community, it's going to really lead you up to a successful training program, let's say and a wonderful Tour day on June 4.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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