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September 28, 2009
Three Forks, MT -- Last weekend, 226 cyclists gathered at Missouri Headwaters State Park to ride in the inaugural statewide Tour de Cure ®, turning in $83,000 in pledged contributions to support American Diabetes Association programs and research to find a cure for diabetes, a leading cause of death by disease in the United States. “The turnout was overwhelming,” reported Trina Adams, Manager for the local Montana Office of the American Diabetes Association. “Once again, this community has come out in support of the 50,000 Montanans with diabetes and helped to raise money for our mission.” “When we crossed the finish line, tons of people were cheering and clapping, making this a memory I will always remember. I never thought I would be able to ride my bike 23 miles, let alone 23 miles with FIVE hills in the middle! It was extremely inspiring to see first-hand the role the American Diabetes Association (ADA) plays in supporting people like me and in finding a cure.” Amanda McCormick, who has type 1 diabetes, is a student at MSU Billings and pedaled with a team of family and friends at the ADA’s first statewide Tour de Cure on Sept. 19. Cyclists with diabetes are designated Red Riders in Tour rides and wear special red cycling jerseys. The top fundraising team was Kathy’s Krazy Kruisers from the Missoula area which brought in $8661. Both the Kruizers and the St. Vincent Team LIV-abetes under Captain Justen Rudolph, MD, were the largest teams with 12 riders each. The top single fundraiser was John Swenson from Lakeside, MT with $2600. Special guest rider was Lonny Knabe, a member of the Elite team of Team Type 1 that recently won the 3021-mile Race Across America from California to Maryland in the record-setting time of 5 days, 9 hours, and 5 minutes. Most of the riders on this team have type 1 diabetes and its mission is to instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes and to show that one can achieve personal goals, dreams, and potential with careful management of the disease. “This Montana Tour was one of the best Tour de Cures in which I have ridden. From the impressive number of Red Riders to the spectacular course and the friendly volunteers, it was a pleasure to ride this Tour.” Knabe was also impressed with the first person on the 100-mile route to roll across the finish line: Dan Cunkleman of Missoula, a Red Rider who was diagnosed when he was 20 years old. He’s a member of the Northern Rockies Orthopedics cycling club and enjoys racing on both mountain and road bikes. “Cycling has helped give me control of my diabetes while diabetes has pushed me to become a better rider. I’m putting the Tour de Cure on my calendar for next season because the support was unbelievable, the route was well marked, the food was great, and everyone was so friendly.” Jeff Thompson, Red Rider from Bozeman, notes “I was inspired by the Team Type 1 professional cyclist Lonnie and the team’s goal of getting a diabetic in the Tour de France by 2012. It lifted my spirits and gave me more drive to always stay in good physical shape—just look at them. If they can do it, I can, too! Rarely, if ever, have I experienced such support and understanding about the disease which I have lived with for 24 years.” Many Red Riders like Jonathan Wareham of Bozeman were already making plans for next year’s Tour as they enjoyed the food and music after the ride. “I had never been involved with any kind of diabetes benefit before. I am going to step it up next year from 56 to 100 miles! With the ADA only having one full-time staff person based in Billings, putting on the Tour required the commitment of many volunteers from throughout the state. HAM radio operators monitored needs throughout the 100-mile course. Motorcyclists who work for ConocoPhillips in Billings followed cyclists and moved messages and materials as needed. A young band from Billings provided music all day long at park. Main Street EFX Photography from Laurel took photos. Members of the volunteer organizing committee under the leadership of Carla Cox and Lisa Raines were located throughout the state. “The Tour de Cure Montana is one of the best first year events I've been a part of. The passion and enthusiasm of the volunteers and riders were unprecedented and the Red Riders were the inspiration of why we ride." observed Sue Glass, ADA Executive Director for Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Co-chair Cox, who was working in the dark to set up and take down the Tour site amenities was grateful for the good weather for this late date for a Tour. "I was delighted with the wonderful fall weather. In addition, the feedback from riders was so reassuring for our first ride. Due to the generous donation of all of our volunteers, the ride went smoothly, the food was well received, and riders said they would be back with friends for next year's ride, September 11, 2010." Sponsors of the Montana Tour de Cure include St. Vincent Healthcare, Conoco Phillips, Novo Nordisk, St. Patrick Healthcare, Western Montana Clinic, Rocky Mountain Bank, Sanofi-Aventis, Lilly, St. James Healthcare, Gap West Communications, KOFI, Inc., and the Billings Gazette. National Tour de Cure sponsors include AT&T, Gold’s Gym, Johnson & Johnson, Valero, Dignity Memorial, and Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club. The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish. For more information about diabetes, or how to join next year’s Tour de Cure, call 1 888-DIABETES or visit us at www.diabetes.org.