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The Healthy Living Magazine

Having Fun and Raising Funds for Diabetes

By Benjamin Hubbert ,

Grace Kendzierski and cousin Levi Finley at a past Tour de Cure event

In 2015, Jean Medley was looking for a challenge. She had taken up recumbent bike riding to lose weight and manage her type 2 diabetes, and she was ready to push herself further. “I wanted to find something that I could participate in, as slow as I rode, that would give me a goal to work toward,” says Medley, now 67. An online search led her to the Tour de Cure®, a fundraising bike ride sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Tour de Cure and Step Out® Walk to Stop Diabetes®, held across the United States each year, are the ADA’s signature fundraising events.

In addition to raising money to support diabetes research, advocacy, and care, the bicycling and walking events bring people with diabetes and their friends and loved ones together. Grace Kendzierski, who has type 1, was only 4 years old when she rode in her first Tour de Cure in Dallas alongside her family, a team they dubbed “Amazing Grace.”

“It was good for Grace to see a lot of people gathered together for that one cause,” Grace’s mother, Pamela Kendzierski, says of their first Tour de Cure in 2014.

The youngest rider in the Dallas Tour that year, Grace formed a friendship with Jim West, then 82 and the oldest rider at the event. “Every year, they take a picture together,” says Kendzierski.

Medley also remembers the bonds she formed through Tour de Cure.“I figured that when I finished, all the tents would be down and everyone would be home,” she says. “But when I came in dead last, everybody had stayed at the finish line to cheer me on.” The moment moved her to tears. “I was overwhelmed with emotion, not only that I finished it, but also by the tremendous support.” The experience inspired her to stick with her exercise habits. She has since increased her riding distance to 25 miles and lost more than 150 pounds.

This year, Medley led a team of 25 people at the Phoenix event. “I have a deep appreciation for the Tour de Cure,” she says. “They have embraced me, and I have embraced them back.”

Grace Kendzierski plans to ride this year, too. Her team, Amazing Grace, will be sporting matching bike jerseys decorated with one of the Kendzierski family’s inside jokes. Grace, now 10, plans to double her riding distance (from 5 miles to 10) and speak at the Champions’ Dinner, which honors participants who have raised $1,000 or more. “Once you’re involved, you see that it’s a big group of people celebrating the successes and challenges, and supporting each other,” says Pamela Kendzierski. “It’s like a second family for us.”

ALASKA
Anchorage, Aug. 12 Tour de Cure

ARKANSAS
Bentonville, Aug. 18 Tour de Cure

CALIFORNIA
Inland Empire, Nov. 17 Tour de Cure
Los Angeles, Oct. 14 Tour de Cure
Napa Valley, May 6 Tour de Cure
Palo Alto, Aug. 5 Tour de Cure

COLORADO
Parker, Sept. 8 Tour de Cure

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington, Sept. 22 Step Out

FLORIDA
Fort Lauderdale, Oct. 20 Step Out
Jacksonville, Dec. 1 Tour de Cure

GEORGIA
Atlanta, May 19 Tour de Cure

ILLINOIS
Alton, June 2 Tour de Cure
Chicago, June 10 Tour de Cure
Chicago, Sept. 29 Step Out
Lincolnshire, Sept. 22 Step Out

INDIANA
Indianapolis, Oct. 20 Tour de Cure

KENTUCKY
Lexington, May 19 Tour de Cure

LOUISIANA
New Orleans, Nov. 3 Tour de Cure

MAINE
Kennebunk, June 10 Tour de Cure

MARYLAND
Baltimore, June 3 Tour de Cure
Baltimore, Oct. 7 Step Out

MASSACHUSETTS
Bedford, July 14–21 Tour de Cure
Boston, May 20 Tour de Cure
Boston, Oct. 21 Step Out

MICHIGAN
Detroit, Sept. 30 Tour de Cure

MINNESOTA
Minneapolis, June 2 Tour de Cure

MISSOURI
Parkville, Sept. 9 Tour de Cure

NEW JERSEY
Lawrenceville, June 2 Tour de Cure

NEW YORK
Ballston Spa, June 10 Tour de Cure
New York, Sept. 30 Tour de Cure
Niagara Falls, June 2 Tour de Cure
Rochester, June 9 Tour de Cure
Syracuse, July 29 Tour de Cure

NORTH CAROLINA
Charlotte, Sept. 15 Tour de Cure

OHIO
Cincinnati, Oct. 14 Tour de Cure

OKLAHOMA
Tulsa, June 2 Tour de Cure

OREGON
Portland, July 28 Tour de Cure

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia, June 16 Tour de Cure
Philadelphia, Nov. 3 Step Out
Pittsburgh, Sept. 15 Tour de Cure

RHODE ISLAND
Kingston, June 3 Tour de Cure

SOUTH CAROLINA
Columbia, May 19 Tour de Cure

TENNESSEE
Nashville, Nov. 3 Tour de Cure

TEXAS
Dallas/Fort Worth, Oct. 20 Tour de Cure
Houston, Sept. 22 Tour de Cure
Lubbock, Sept. 22 Step Out

UTAH
Vineyard, Sept. 15 Tour de Cure

VIRGINIA
Reston, Sept. 8 Tour de Cure
Richmond, Oct. 13 Tour de Cure

WASHINGTON
Woodinville, May 5 Tour de Cure

WISCONSIN
Madison, July 28 Tour de Cure
Milwaukee, July 14 Tour de Cure

LEARN MORE

Learn more about Tour de Cure, find an event near you, or start your own team.

 

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