‘Tour’ plans to ride again in Suffolk

Published 8:38 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

The American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure fundraiser had such a successful year in Suffolk that it already plans to come back next year, an official with the organization said last week.

The bicycle-ride fundraiser held on April 21 has brought in about $360,000 as of last week, said Amie Holman, associate director and Tour de Cure coordinator.

The goal was $400,000. With donations that continue to come in throughout the organization’s fiscal year, the organization should meet the goal, she said.

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“We’re confident we’re going to meet that goal before the end of the year,” she said.

Holman said the event was a huge success, and the riders had complimented everything from the route to the volunteers on the course.

“It was fantastic,” she said, attributing the event’s success to the many volunteers from the community. “We just received open arms from the community, and it made the biggest different to the riders.”

The Tour de Cure offers 10-, 30-, 64- or 100-mile bike rides to riders. This year’s routes took riders all over Suffolk’s back roads and along some of its most scenic routes. It began and ended at King’s Fork High School.

“The biggest compliments that we’ve received so far have been the course and the volunteers on the course,” Holman said. “Everyone felt very safe and very comfortable on the roads.”

Volunteers from many Suffolk organizations and churches donated their time and facilities to provide rest stops for the riders. Holman especially mentioned the Suffolk, Bethlehem and Holland Ruritan clubs, Liberty Springs Christian Church, Western Branch Baptist Church and Woodland United Methodist Church.

One resident on Pittmantown Road even allowed the riders to use her front yard as a rest stop, Holman said.

The money raised will go toward the organization’s threefold mission of research, education and advocacy. Because Suffolk has one of the highest diabetes rates in the state, it is especially appropriate to continue holding the event here, Holman said.

“We hope to do exactly what we did again (that we did) this past year,” she said. “The staff and everyone at King’s Fork High School were absolutely wonderful to us. If it’s not broke, we don’t want to fix it.”

But just because the event is over for this year, that doesn’t mean the organization is done with Suffolk until next year, she said. Several education programs still are ongoing in the community.

“We’re going to still be active in the community,” she said.

For more information on the organization or the event, visit www.diabetes.org.