After six years, the American Diabetes Association of West Michigan says it's re-launching local fundraising events with the Tour de Cure and Step Out Walk on September 11.
Tour de Cure features 10, 30, 62 and 100-mile cycling routes mapped through the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycling Coalition. Longer routes wind through multiple Ottawa County parks.
The local chapter says it hopes to raise $200,000 to support the ADA’s missions of diabetes research, prevention and awareness. Dr. Rob Selfe with Spectrum Health is an event co-chair.
"Unfortunately diabetes is a virtual epidemic here in America," he says. "Greater than 30 million people including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics and gestational diabetics during pregnancy are affected by this disease."
Selfe says the CDC estimates another 78 million Americans are pre-diabetic.
"Which means we’re teetering on some higher blood sugars that will ultimately impact our overall health."
Rudy Escobar - or 'Red Rider Rudy' - is an event ambassador and is diabetic himself.
He says he’s found a much healthier lifestyle in part through cycling and exercise.
"And today, I’m a very healthy diabetic – yes, I’m still a diabetic, yes I still take Metformin – but you know what? There’s hope," Escobar says. "And that’s what my dream, and my desire as a Red ambassador, is - to bring hope to people."
Escobar says he did his first Tour de Cure in Ann Arbor two years ago. He’ll be cycling the 10-mile route at the west Michigan event.
You can learn more at diabetes.org/wmtour.