Another successful Tour de Cure

Published 9:55 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

More than 700 cyclists enjoyed warm temperatures and sunny skies on Saturday during the American Diabetes Association’s 23rd annual Hampton Roads Tour de Cure. It was the sixth year the organization had held the big fundraising event in Suffolk, and by all accounts, it was a big success.

The ADA teamed up with the Suffolk community and corporate sponsors to organize the event in which riders undertook 100-, 65-, 25- and 10-mile cycling routes. The Tour helps to raise funds for diabetes research, education and advocacy efforts.

Organizers seemed pleased with fundraising efforts. At the time of the event, about two thirds of the $450,000 goal had been raised, and they expect May to bring a new rush of donations, as riders who participated in the event contact friends and family to show them photos of what they did and ask for contributions. In fact, donations through December go toward meeting the Hampton Roads goal.

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One of the best parts of the Tour de Cure is the participation of so-called “Red Riders,” participants who suffer from diabetes and serve to provide extra motivation for others taking part.

Doug Bater, a Virginia Beach resident with Type 2 diabetes, said he had trained on the stationary bike at his gym four days a week for more than a month to prepare for Saturday’s ride. Diabetes, he said, “shouldn’t prevent you from doing anything you want to do.”

Any nonprofit event with the scope of the Tour de Cure relies heavily on volunteers to make it come together, and this one was no different. About 400 volunteers chipped in to make this one a success, manning rest stops along the routes, providing medical support for riders and serving as bicycle mechanics, motorcycle support, route marshals and more.

“We couldn’t do something like this without people donating tents, food and medical support,” said community leadership board member and event emcee LeAnne Benedetto. “We’re really grateful.”

Congratulations on another successful Tour de Cure. Suffolk is honored to be the host for this great event.