This year’s Tour de Cure in Rochester coming up on June 8 hopes to raise over one million dollars for the American Diabetes Association.
Kerrie Merz, the Tour de Cure Development Director, and Ken Nawrocki, a Volunteer Leader for the Tour de Cure, discussed bike safety and this year’s tour Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.
“We have for the last two years been the number one Tour de Cure in the nation,” said Merz. “The Rochester Tour de Cure has raised $1.8 million each year, beating out markets like California, and Denver, and Pittsburgh and Orlando – little Rochester.”
Tour de Cure helps the American Diabetes Association address critical needs. “The money we raise supports our mission to prevent and cure diabetes, and support those living with diabetes,” Merz said. “Primarily, the money that we raise goes into one of three buckets. One is to “Drive Discovery,” so supporting research. Some of that research is actually here in Rochester at the University of Rochester, but we’ll support the research wherever it’s happening. Number two is “Advocacy,” raising up a voice for those living with diabetes, whether it’s the insulin affordability issue or helping someone in the workplace. And number three is “Supporting Those Living with Diabetes.” Our best local example of that is Camp Aspire. Camp registration is open now. It happens at the Rotary Sunshine Camp, the first two weeks of July, for children living with type 1 diabetes. They have an opportunity to be ‘normal,’ in their words. Everybody is checking their blood sugar 12 times a day, and everyone is counting carbs. They just get to have a great camp experience, and it’s a great visual for our participants to know where their money is going.”
May 13-17 is National Bike to Work Week and the “Ride Smart, Drive Smart” campaign promotes road safety leading up to the Tour de Cure. “We’ve got a responsibility as cyclists to act responsibly when we’re riding,” noted Nawrocki. “We have responsibilities — as well as rights — as do motorists. It’s mutual respect out on the road, and it’s really important that we set a good example out there on the Tour. Our routes are designed for safety, and they’re well-supported by a staff of volunteers. It’s a great event, and we’re just lucky to have the volunteers that we have that make it safe for everyone.”
Nawrocki called cycling a great form of exercise. “It’s non-impact. It also gets up your aerobic heart rate, and it really helps develop muscles that you didn’t know you had over time. You’ve probably all seen the commercial with the ‘guy with the calves.'”
Merz added, “The other thing about cyclists is that they tend to be very competitive people, and I think that’s part of the secret to the success of the Tour. Once they grab onto something, and that something here is the mission of the American Diabetes Association and making Rochester number one, they’re not going to let it go.”
For more information about the Tour de Cure and how to participate, visit diabetes.org/rochestertour.
To see our full conversation with Kerrie Merz and Ken Nawrocki, click the link below.