3 reasons the Tour de Cure is a powerful event

This past Saturday, June 2nd, was a cloudy, cooler, rainy day in the Twin Cities (in MN). Ironically, it was a perfect day for the Tour de Cure Twin Cities! The Tour is a walk, run, bike event for the American Diabetes Association. It’s a fundraising event. It’s also a celebration of wellness and fitness.

Champion Status!

This year the event was held at a new location, a few miles further from my house than in previous years. Due to my recent broken ankle and foot, I knew it wasn’t wise to ride much longer than the 26 miles I signed up for, thus, I drove myself and my bike to Boom Island, where we started. Thanks to my generous donors: Heather, Molly, Francesca, Alex & Rita, Liz, Eric, Rich, Debra, Joe and Aunt Mudge, I made Champion Status. Champions are participants who raise more than $1000. I raised $1386!!! SO COOL!! It meant I got to park in the Gold Champion parking lot! That was wonderful and very convenient.

I have been riding in the Tour de Cure since it started. I was at one of the very first Tours in California held more than 25 years ago. Then, since I created the Red Riders and Team Red more than 11 years ago, I’ve ridden in at least one, often more, Tours all over the United States. As a result, I’ve witnessed the amazingness of the Tour first hand.

Here are three reasons the Tour is such an awesome, powerful event!

Reason 1: The event is well organized by a collaboration of dedicated volunteers and ADA staff

One of the most incredible things about how this event gets coordinated is the way the many, many, many volunteers (meaning ZERO pay for doing LOTS of good work!) work alongside the (underpaid) ADA staff to make the event go from a dream to reality. The volunteer committee works at minimum 9 months of the year to make the day come alive. Often there are more than 30 people on the volunteer committee. After all, many hands make light work! And producing a Tour de Cure event is a LOT of heavy lifting and organizing!!

The many faces of Janeece

The Tour Director is a paid ADA staff person. In the case of the Twin Cities Tour de Cure that person is Janeece Oatman, who this year it was her 10th Tour de Cure! The volunteers got together and surprised Janeece with several fun gifts that they gave her the night of the Champions Dinner. One fun gift, that captured Janeece’s silliness was they took a photo of Janeece’s face and made cut outs and mounted them on large flat sticks. They handed them out to lots of people and we gave her a huge round of applause that included putting her face over our faces as we applauded. This all symbolized the love and connection so, so, so many of us have for Janeece and her passion to find a way to STOP DIABETES!

Reason 2: It is a wellness celebration

No two ways about it, the Tour de Cure in every city is a wellness celebration. After all, everyone who shows up is there to do some sort of physical movement, whether walking, running or biking!! Since I am a BIG FAN of movement for a good life, I love this aspect of Tour!


Reason 3: It’s a chance for those who live with diabetes to feel loved and feel normal

The group I rode with on Tour day 2018!!

Diabetes is a fast growing epidemic. That makes me sad. It breaks my heart to see so many kids at the Tour wearing the Red Rider/Red Strider jerseys/shirts. That said, diabetes is an invisible disease. You can not tell just by looking who has diabetes. That’s why I created the Red Riders/Red Striders more than 11 years ago. I wanted a day where having diabetes was obvious, so we can connect with each other and yell, “Go Red Rider!” and “Go Red Strider” to each other and feel the love. And for one day, be the positive center of attention. That happens on Tour day. It’s beautiful and deeply healing for those of us who live day in and day out with the struggle that is diabetes.

There you have it!



My call to action for everyone reading this blog is: SIGN UP FOR A TOUR de CURE EVENT NEAR YOU! You can walk, run or bike!!!

With wellness love,


Tour morning 2018



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8 thoughts on “3 reasons the Tour de Cure is a powerful event”

  1. This year our Tour was moved to a Saturday and combined with the other New Jersey Tour de Cure. Between getting started late on fundraising, strange work scheduling, my Other Half getting RIFfed and driving me to work (when I would otherwise have ridden), and the motor vehicle (our transportation TO the event) dying the previous month, it was a small miracle we made it to the event at all! One of our good computer club friends (who’s volunteered at our Skylands events a few times in the past) was now one of the volunteer communications coordinators for the event, and had been looking for additional HAMs, SAG drivers, and Ride Marshals up to about a week before the event.
    It was my tenth ride, including the NYC one where the NJ Committee (we were both on the Committee at the time) was asked to volunteer at the event.
    I love the graphics on the Living Red jersey, and “I THRIVE WITH DIABETES” moving from a sleeve to the back (replacing “I RIDE with Diabetes”); I just wish the Red Rider logo wasn’t so small (again)…

    • Thanks for making it to your Tour!! Sounds like you overcame a lot of barriers to make it happen. Well done!

  2. I’ve done Tour de Cure twice as a Red Rider, but the past two years I seem to always recovering from some injury or illness. This year I’m doing the Great Cycle Challenge to raise money for children’s cancer research. I can do my miles over the whole month so I can more easily manage my recovery. I got hit by a car in December while doing a recon ride for a new route for our cycling club. I was riding in a marked bike lane at the time. I got flown to the trauma center with head and neck injuries. I’m grateful that I’m still able to ride a bike but a bit frustrated a having to do it in baby steps. Thanks for your blog. I do charity rides because I’m so blessed by being able to be out on my bike and I want to share my blessings however I am able.

    • Cindy,
      AMAZING! So glad you keep on going. So sorry you got hit by a car. That is not good. Baby steps are still steps. Thanks for your inspiration and kind words and telling me and all of us a bit of your story!
      With love,

    • Janeece,
      You are simply AMAZING!! It is a joy to see your passion, dedication and love every year at the Tour de Cure Twin Cities! Thank you!!!

  3. Yup, you captured it, Mari! My favorite reason is #3. The tour brings tears to my eyes every year … looking at all the people at the park there to have fun raising money to STOP DIABETES, the disease I’ve lived with for 46 years. Thank you SO MUCH for all you have done for the Tour over the years! ”
    Go Champion Red Rider!”

    • Go Champion Red Rider right back at cha Mary Jo!! 46 years with diabetes, way to go!!! And yes, every Tour I do I get tears in my eyes. It’s a beautiful emotional powerful healing event!!!

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