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Four-time rider loves the ‘Tour’

Published 11:28pm Saturday, February 22, 2014

Suffolk resident Linda Garratt may be partially responsible for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure coming to Suffolk three years ago.

“I begged them to do it in Suffolk,” she said. “I’m so happy they’re doing it in Suffolk.”

This will be Garratt’s fourth year riding in the Tour de Cure, which will take place this year on April 26. More than 1,000 cyclists will leave from King’s Fork High School and ride one of four routes throughout the city — 10, 30, 65 or 100 miles.

Garratt got involved through her employment at Dollar Tree. A company leader sent an email encouraging employees to participate on the company team, she said.

“We have people here that have diabetes,” she said. “It was refreshing to know we were helping people we work with.”

Prior to participating in the Tour, Garratt said she didn’t know anybody with diabetes, but then she discovered some of her co-workers had the disease and she didn’t even know it.

“We go to these team meetings and hear some of the stories of people who have family members with diabetes,” she said. “It’s pretty touching.”

Garratt also said she has learned more about diabetes through participating in Tour de Cure.

Her fundraising goal this year was $250, but she already has met that and raised the ante. She has managed to make it to about $500 every year, she said.

Dollar Tree also helps its employees raise money by holding little fundraisers, like allowing employees to wear jeans for a $5 donation.

Garratt said the camaraderie among riders is good. She has made friends that she sees every year at the ride.

“I just like it,” she said, adding she also appreciates that the event starts with the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.

“We need more of that,” she said.

Participation requires a $25 registration fee and $200 fundraising minimum. Participants can form teams or ride as individuals, and all that’s required is a bicycle and helmet.

For more information on Tour de Cure, visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour or call Amie Holman at 424-6662 ext. 3276.

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