What is better than exercise, friends and raising money for a good cause?
Such is what I experienced last week, when I traveled to Denver, Colorado for my first Tour de Cure.
Since becoming the CEO of the American Diabetes Association in June, I’d heard nothing but excitement about this signature fundraising cycling event. I’ve heard how inspiring it is to both participate in the event and hear from the participants who are living with diabetes. I also heard that these events over the country raise over $29 million a year in 44 different states to find a cure for diabetes and to support our mission. And what a gift these events are for those who live with the devastating effects of diabetes every day of the year!
From the first moment I arrived, I was impressed—both with the organization of the weekend and all the amazing donors and friends of the Association who came out to support us.
Here are my three biggest take-a-ways from the weekend:
- People living with diabetes do amazing things!
Not that this is any surprise to those who are a part of the diabetes community, but to have a front row seat to the action last weekend reminded me of this fact all over again. While there are many challenges that people living with diabetes face on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean that they can’t lead an active life. How inspiring it was to see the Red Riders—those who are living with diabetes line up to ride between 10-100 miles! I saw on their faces determination and courage. Nothing would stop them from being successful. If you are interested in becoming a Red Rider at one of our events in your state click here.
- There’s so much passion within the diabetes community, even among our youngest members for our shared work!
There’s a lot that we as adults can learn from children when it comes to enthusiasm especially when it comes to the movement to #StopDiabetes. For example, in Denver I met Evan who is 10. Evan is one of our Youth Ambassadors who lives with type 1 diabetes. We met at a rest stop and had a quick conversation. When he realized I was the CEO of the American Diabetes Association, he said “I’m so glad to meet you and I want your job one day. I want to be the CEO.” I admired his gusto and told him that by time he’s ready to lead an organization I hope there is a cure for diabetes!
- Our corporate partners want to invest in innovation.
As I was able to sit down and talk with supporters at this Tour de Cure, what I heard over an over again is excitement about the future. These partners have heard that I am a leader committed to trying new things and not being afraid to do things differently than they’ve always been done. These partners want to be part of innovative solutions to the care and treatment of diabetes and all of its complications.
Stay tuned for how these conversations lead to new strategies in programming and research.
If you want to know more about a Tour de Cure in your area, visit our website to learn more.