Help stop diabetes

Published 10:15 pm Monday, February 18, 2013

The Suffolk News-Herald recently kicked off our coverage of the American Diabetes Association’s upcoming Tour de Cure, which will return to the city April 20 after a successful introduction last year.

The bicycling fundraiser takes riders on their choice of four different distances that loop and meander throughout most of southern and western Suffolk. Each rider is responsible for raising at least $175 in order to participate, and the money will go toward diabetes research, prevention education and support.

Throughout the next couple months, we will be doing a number of stories related to this event — people who plan on riding or volunteering, businesses and community groups supporting the ride, Suffolk residents who have been helped by the American Diabetes Association, and other lead-up events such as Diabetes Alert Day.

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I am excited to do these stories because finding a cure for diabetes is an issue that is close to my heart.

My boyfriend, mother and maternal grandmother all have Type 2 diabetes, and I have several risk factors. I’m working on reigning in the factors I can control, such as my weight, diet and exercise level, in an effort not to let my family’s medical history determine my future.

Suffolk and Western Tidewater have some of the highest rates of diabetes and diabetes complications in the state, and that’s not a legacy we want to have. I would encourage all Suffolk citizens — especially if you have risk factors — to talk to your doctor or visit a Diabetes Alert Day screening on March 26. We’ll announce the time and location on the community calendar page and in a story on the front page the preceding Sunday. While this screening won’t substitute for visiting your doctor, it could help alert you to a problem. You can also take a risk test at

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include having a family history, being over age 45, being overweight, not exercising regularly, having bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, being a race other than white, being a male, or being a female who had gestational diabetes or had a baby weighing nine pounds or more at birth.

I urge everyone who is able to participate in the Tour de Cure in April. We can help make a difference together.

For more information on the Tour, visit