Gabriel spreads the word

Published 9:31 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

For those who know her, it was no surprise that Helen Gabriel recently received the Tour de Cure Volunteer of the Year Award at the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Kickoff on Jan. 18.

Having lost her mother, Loulla Gabriel, to complications of diabetes more than 12 years ago, Helen Gabriel is probably the biggest advocate for the American Diabetes Association that can be found anywhere this side of the Mississippi. Gabriel serves on the planning committee for the annual cycling fundraising event that is held in Suffolk. It’s an especially apt position for her, as she is assistant director of Parks and Recreation, so she is able to help make sure the routes are free of potholes and other obstructions.

Gabriel also co-captains one of the largest teams and, in 2016, raised nearly $4,000. On Tour day, she’s found putting the rubber to the road to cycle away 100 miles for the Tour.

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Gabriel talks easily about her passion for education about how to prevent or manage diabetes and its complications, finding a cure and advocating for those who already have the condition. She urges people to make sure they get screened for diabetes, know their uncontrollable risk factors — such as family history — and control those risk factors that can be controlled, such as diet and activity level.

All the while, she is thinking about her mother and, hopefully, helping others avoid the same complications her mother suffered.

This year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will take place on April 28, beginning and ending at the Suffolk Executive Airport. The route options are 10, 25, 65 or 100 miles. There will also be a 5K run and walk.

There is a $25 registration fee and a $200 fundraising minimum. The registration fee will go up to $30 on April 1. The fundraising goal is $450,000, and approximately $141,786 has been raised as of Saturday.

Visit diabetes.org/hrtdc or call 424-6662 ext. 3269 for more information.