Suffolk woman works on Tour

Published 9:05 pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tour de Cure cyclists set off on the race last year at King's Fork High School. This year's event is set for April 26.

Tour de Cure cyclists set off on the race last year at King’s Fork High School. This year’s event is set for April 26.

Susan Palmer Dowdy wishes somebody had told her about the American Diabetes Association when she was first diagnosed with the disease.

Now that the Suffolk woman works with the association, she has the opportunity to make sure others know about it when they need help.

Dowdy

Dowdy

“I’ve always been in association management,” she said. “But as opposed to simply finding a cause I could believe in, this was a cause that’s close to my heart.”

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She got married in November and thought she had “at least six months’ worth of things” she needed to do, so she essentially retired from her job with the Girl Scouts. But then she saw an advertisement that the American Diabetes Association was looking for a manager.

“It’s like a light bulb went off in my head,” she said. “I can put my expertise to work for a good cause, and not just a good cause but one that affects so many people — 26 million people — and so many people don’t understand it.”

Her role at the association is corporate development, meaning she has a large hand in the upcoming Tour de Cure in Suffolk. She will be gathering corporate teams and “identifying how having a team on the Tour de Cure can make them visible in their community,” she said.

Many companies these days are looking to reduce health care costs through encouraging wellness, and participating in the Tour can be part of that and also increase community visibility, she said.

“They can do the ride as part of this culture of wellness and at the same time get out in the community to show their support for community health,” she said. “I think there are a lot of companies nowadays who are seeing the connection between healthy staff and the cost of health care.”

This year’s Tour de Cure will be the third in a row to be held in Suffolk. Set for April 26, it will begin and end at King’s Fork High School.

The registration fee is $25, and a fundraising minimum is $200. Riders can choose 10-, 30-, 65- or 100-mile courses. No elite cycling equipment is required — only a safe bicycle and helmet.

Dowdy encouraged everyone to participate in the event.

“I think every person you know knows somebody with diabetes, whether or not they know it,” she said. “I am looking to make a difference.”

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