Making progress at Tour

Published 11:04 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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When Tour de Cure rides again this May in Suffolk, the American Diabetes Association will take a look back at a century of progress in treatments, with the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin coming in 2021.

One of the speakers on Tour Day this year will be longtime ADA volunteer Julie Krupnick. Krupnick, 52, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in Virginia Beach on Oct. 3, 1979.

She was just 11 years old when her grandmother — a Type 2 diabetic herself — saw the signs in her, like frequent trips to the bathroom and extreme thirst, and convinced Krupnick’s mother to take her to the doctor.

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“Back then, there were no test strips and glucose monitors like we have today,” Krupnick said. “You had to go to the pediatrician’s office or hospital to get your blood drawn.”

She would go to the hospital weekly in her early teens to have her fasting blood sugar checked, after which the doctors would adjust her insulin dosage. She didn’t get her first glucose monitor until her late teens.

“I missed a lot of school when I was little,” she said.

In 1992, Krupnick was one of the first people in Hampton Roads to go on an insulin pump. She said treatments have come a long way since she was diagnosed, from just one shot a day when she was a kid to the different insulin pumps she’s had as an adult.

She’s also been fortunate enough to participate in different medical trials at the University of Virginia, she said.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to participate in some more so we can see where diabetes goes next,” she said.

The American Diabetes Association advocates for diabetics like Krupnick, and fundraises to help advance research toward breakthroughs in diabetes treatment — with a dream of one day finding a cure.

Krupnick has been a volunteer for this life-saving organization since she was first diagnosed.

“I’m so close to these people. They’re like another family to me,” she said. “The people with the ADA give you your bridal shower at your wedding. These people are so involved, they become family.”

Tour de Cure is the premier fundraising event for the American Diabetes Association, and the Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will be held on May 2 at the Suffolk Executive Airport, 1200 Gene Bolton Drive.

Virginia Eye Consultants is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure. According to Director of Marketing Tami Burke, this is the fourth year that Virginia Eye Consultants has been involved with the event.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of eye health, and how that relates to diabetes,” she said. They even have their own cycling team for the event, the Virginia Eye Rollers.

She described the American Diabetes Association as a “very worthy” nonprofit that has its sights on making a difference.

“Their dollars are used well, (and) their staff resources are used particularly well,” she said. “They’re just a very worthy, high-impact nonprofit in our area. Diabetes is an epidemic, and they’re at the front line trying to help.”

The Hampton Roads Tour de Cure on May 2 at the Suffolk Executive Airport will have routes for both cyclists and runners. There will be 12-, 30-, 50-, 62- and 100-mile routes for cyclists, a timed 5K for runners, and a one-mile route for both runners and walkers.

The registration fee is $30 through the day of the event. The fundraising minimum will be $250 for each cyclist, $100 for each walker and runner, and $50 for participants ages 12 and younger.

The fundraising goal for this year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure is $500,000. As of Friday evening, about $183,687 has been raised for the event, with 66 teams and 403 total registered participants.

The 2020 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure kickoff event will be held Thursday at Smartmouth Pilot House in Virginia Beach, 313 32nd St. This event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Participants do not need to be registered for the 2020 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure to attend.

Light refreshments will be provided at the event, and the 2019 Top Team and Participant Awards from last year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will be given.

Registration for this year’s Tour de Cure in Hampton Roads will be available at the kickoff. The latest updates on diabetes research will be discussed, as well as the exciting new things planned for Tour this year.

“At our annual Tour de Cure kickoff on (Thursday), we look forward to highlighting diabetes advances the American Diabetes Association has played a role in over the past 100 years, as well as looking toward the future of what might be accomplished through the fundraising efforts of our generous sponsors, donors and Tour participants,” said Deanie Eldridge, Virginia Area Executive Director.

RSVP for the kickoff is preferred. For more information on the kickoff and on the upcoming Tour, visit the 2020 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure website at, or contact Robin Kantor via email at, or by calling 424-6662 ext. 3269.