The Tour de Cure is the annual fundraising campaign of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) that includes options for cycling, running and walking. Tour de Cure events are held annually in 40 states nationwide; the 2017 Buffalo/Niagara Tour de Cure included 67 teams, 617 participants, and raised $350,000.
The mission of the ADA is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. The funds raised by the Tour de Cure go to supporting that mission. This support is provided in the form of educating the community about the risks, signs, and dangers of diabetes, assisting and advocating for those living with the disease, and providing funding for those who are researching a cure. In Western New York, these funds also help to support programs such as Camp Aspire, which allows children living with diabetes to spend time in a safe and accepting environment where their condition is the norm, so that they can gain self-confidence, self-reliance, and develop friendships that will last a life time.
Mark Janecek – Director Of Product Management & Development
I grew up exposed regularly to the challenges of diabetes – my grandfather was a type 2 diabetic. I saw my grandparents several times a week and came to know the slow, challenging progression that this disease takes – particularly when not managed well.
In August 2016, it became more personal for me. I hadn’t felt well for much of the previous summer; I was indescribably exhausted on a regular basis, I had swelling in my legs, and I experienced several other signs of diabetes – many of which I had mentioned to my health care provider over the previous few years. That August I saw a different doctor who spent all of 5 minutes with me and I was on my way with a blood work requisition. It would only be 24 hours later that I could see the results of my A1C test, and shortly thereafter that I received my diagnosis for type 2 diabetes.
The doctor started me right away on medication – but I also immediately began reading a lot about the disease (particularly on the ADA web site), diet and carbs, and how exercise and time placement of exercise affected blood glucose levels.
I was determined not to let my grandfather’s story become my own. I put myself on a very strict diet that limited my calories, particularly keeping my carb intake to a minimum. I also started to ride my bike again, which had been sitting in my garage for the past 20 years.
The length of my daily rides started out small, 2-4 km/1.5 miles, and slowly increased over time. Now I routinely cycle 150-200 km a week, and some weeks more. As I started to ride more, I looked for events in which I could ride on the weekends and discovered the Buffalo/Niagara Tour de Cure. This was the perfect fit for me – not only was it a cycling event but the annual fundraising campaign of the American Diabetes Association. In June 2016, I participated in the event by cycling the 100 km/60-mile route. With the generous support of SWK and others, I was able to raise over $2,500.
I continue to ride on a near daily basis, and in 2017 I set a goal of 6225 KM/3868 miles. I picked this goal because it represents a coast-to-coast ride across Canada. I achieved that goal by the second week of November and I have now logged over 7,000 km for the year. Along with meeting this goal, I have lost and kept off over 100 pounds, my blood glucose levels are normal, and – most important to me – I am now medication free.
Once again, I appreciate the support and generosity of SWK and the many others who helped me raise funds for the 2017 Buffalo/Niagara Tour de Cure. I will be participating again in the 2018 Buffalo/Nagara Tour de Cure scheduled in June. I appreciate your taking the time to ready my story, and as always, I am thankful for your support and generosity.