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Kicking off Tour 2020

People gathered Thursday night at the Smartmouth Pilot House in Virginia Beach and enjoyed the festivities, refreshments and updates at the kickoff for the 2020 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure that will be held in May at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

Awards were given and stories were shared, as ADA staff looked at the past 100 years of progress in diabetes management, at the latest advances in diabetes care and at the upcoming Tour for cyclists, runners and walkers to join the fight against diabetes.

Virginia Eye Consultants is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure, and remarks were shared at the Thursday night kickoff by Director of Marketing Tami Burke.

According to virginiaeyeconsultants.com, the company is providing free cataract surgery through its “Looking Forward … Giving Back” program for uninsured people in the Hampton Roads community who cannot afford this procedure.

“There is a real connection between vision and your health, and vision and diabetes,” Burke said Thursday evening. “You may or may not know that an eye exam is one of the first ways that you can detect diabetes in yourself or your loved one, so please be sure to have an eye exam every year.”

The top fundraising teams and individuals from last year’s Hampton Roads Tour de Cure were recognized, as well as the recipients of the Tour Volunteer Legacy Award and the Volunteer Group of the Year.

Jimmy Murphy received the Tour Volunteer Legacy Award, and the Chesapeake Amateur Radio Service was named Volunteer Group of the Year. Jeffrey Saunders was the top individual fundraiser in last year’s Tour with $30,000, and the top fundraising team was Team Portsmouth, with $42,332.

With the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin coming in 2021, event chair Arlene Sadoff kicked off the proceedings in 1920s dress and remarked on how insulin saved the lives of diabetics at the time.

But diabetes is still a chronic disease that’s faced by 34.2 million Americans daily, or 10.5 percent of the population, according to diabetes.org.

Dr. David Lieb, an endocrinologist with Eastern Virginia Medical School, spoke at the Thursday night kickoff about the advances in insulin pumps, glucose monitors, glucagon and other technology since he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1989 at age of 12.

These advances have done wonders for diabetics like Dr. Lieb, and also for Julie Krupnick, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1979.

Krupnick spoke at the Thursday night kickoff about her long and ongoing journey with diabetes. In 1992, she was one of the first people in Hampton Roads to go on an insulin pump — the first of many for her.

“I’ve tried a whole bunch of different ones, and it’s like each time they come out with something new, I can’t wait to see what technology will do,” Krupnick said Thursday evening. “But I count myself lucky, because I’ve had all of these opportunities to do and try all of these different things.”

Krupnick is grateful for all of the opportunities she’s been offered to help treat her diabetes, including different medical trials at the University of Virginia. She’s also happy to have volunteered all of these years with the ADA, since she was first diagnosed.

“The ADA has become a family, and they’ve been able to put these events on and bring us all together, and I’m hoping one day that I’ll just be able to say that I don’t have diabetes anymore,” she said.

The American Diabetes Association advocates for diabetics and fundraises to further advance research on even greater breakthroughs in diabetes treatment, and the Tour de Cure is the premier fundraising event for the organization.

Tour committee member Terese McKiernan talked about the different routes for riders at the Hampton Roads Tour de Cure this May. The routes will once again be fully supported with bike mechanics, volunteer route marshals, rest stops with food, water and more.

“We took your feedback and made some adjustments that we think everyone will love,” McKiernan said. “Rest stops are placed every 10 to 20 miles out on the routes, with a lot of overlap in between the routes for more (opportunities) to see your friends on the road and at the rest stops.”

Safety is the top priority on Tour day, and the ADA is committed to offering safe, fun routes for every skill level, McKiernan said. Participants will be kept in the loop as changes are made to the routes leading up to Tour day, in coordination with the Suffolk Police Department.

“With these changes we have unfortunately had to eliminate the 50-mile bike route,” she said, adding that riders can change their routes at any time, up to the day of Tour.

Another new addition this year will be a timed 5K route. The 2020 event start times have also been adjusted to allow for more riders, runners and walkers to enjoy the after-party at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

Local breweries Smartmouth Brewing Co. and Tradition Brewing Company will provide beverages at the after party. There will be live music by the Fuzz Band and Astro DJs, as participants check out the informative wellness village with free screenings, education and more on-site.

Participants are encouraged to bring guests, and non-registered guests will be able to buy the barbecue lunch, as well, McKiernan said.

“This year we will be enjoying a lot of the same delicious treats as last year, with a full hot breakfast and post-ride meal provided by Suffolk BBQ,” McKiernan said. “The rest stops will also be fully stocked with items like fruit, snack bars, PB&Js, and pickles, as well as a few surprises along the way.”

The Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will be held on May 2 at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

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 $189,893 has been raised for the event, with 68 teams and 425 total registered participants.

For more information on, visit the 2020 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure website at diabetes.org/hrtdc, or contact Robin Kantor via email at rkantor@diabetes.org, or by calling 424-6662 ext. 3269.