Tour de Cure gears up to ride again

Print More
Howard Kravetz, left, started helping the Tour de Cure to support his son, Nate Kravetz, right, who has type 1 diabetes. (Photo provided by Howard Kravetz)

When Howard Kravetz’s youngest son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011, he knew the next year’s Tour de Cure would be a significant one for him. That year, he was the No. 1 fundraiser in the region, and this year he is on track to be the same—for the seventh time.

“I have a son, who I love, who I’m passionate about helping, and I’ve also become educated in how grave this disease is, and how it affects so many people, and how important it is that we do find a cure for it one way or the other,” Kravetz says. 

The Tour de Cure is an annual fundraising and engagement event for the American Diabetes Association, where participants raise money for the organization and ride bicycles along designated routes anywhere from 12 miles to 100 miles. This year’s tour was rescheduled for July 22, after poor air quality from Canadian wildfires prevented it from running as scheduled on June 10. Last year marked the Tour de Cure’s return as an in-person event after the pandemic.

The Rochester Tour de Cure, now called the Finger Lakes Region Tour de Cure, was the leading tour in the nation for fundraising in the three years before the tour went virtual. Each of those three years saw fundraising surpass $1 million. 

“It’s just a testament to people in Upstate New York and their belief that we all have a purpose to serve one another, and they understand the impact that diabetes has on individuals,” says Jeff Collins, executive director of the Finger Lakes Region Tour. 

Kravetz attributes the region’s success in the tour to Rochester’s size and philanthropic attitude. 

“The Rochester area has a reputation of being a philanthropic community. And I think part of it is our size, the fact that (the city is) small,” Kravetz says. “I think our United Way is strong, I think a lot of our large, charitable organizations are strong.”

Photo courtesy of the American Diabetes Association

Preparation for the Tour de Cure starts in February with the announcement of the chairs for the region. Training rides are also held to prepare people for the day of the tour. Teams of multiple participants fundraise together and host events themselves. 

“They’re engaging with one another; they’re raising awareness, like, almost all year round,” Collins says. “It really develops that sense of community.”

The Finger Lakes Region Tour has become more than just an annual fundraising event for Kravetz, who has participated in the Tour de Cure since 2010.

“There was a period for years where we’d start in the winter, doing spin class training at Midtown, and then we would do outdoor training rides in the spring, leading up to the tour. There was a group of anywhere from eight to 13 of us that would ride together all summer,” Kravetz says. “It’s almost like, on some level, a big, big reunion for a lot of people that they haven’t seen all winter.”

When the tour was delayed, the Champion’s Reception was still held to honor the participants who raised over $1,000. Collins says he was prepared for people to be upset at the event’s postponement, but everyone who attended was supportive and understanding. This same supportive atmosphere and resilience was also displayed during the event’s virtual years, he observes.

“The thing that sticks out the most to me is how everyone has just kind of stayed stuck together and really supported the tour and the mission, throughout that time period,” Collins says.

Fundraising and participant numbers dropped in Upstate New York for the tour’s first year back in-person last year, but this year shows a growth in both fundraising and participants here and in the Capitol region. So far this year, the Finger Lakes region has raised more than $418,000, with a stretch goal of $750,000.

Funds raised for the American Diabetes Association contribute to diabetes research, education and advocacy. They also feed back into the Rochester community, where funds help support Camp Aspire, a week-long summer camp for children of all ages diagnosed with diabetes. 

“We’re able to serve those kids and provide them with an opportunity to attend camp, become more confident in managing their diabetes, and more confident living with diabetes, and the social, mental, emotional aspects that come with it,” Collins says. 

The Finger Lakes Region Tour de Cure route starts at the Xerox Campus in Webster, where around 500 participants, and more than 100 volunteers, will promote awareness and raise money for those impacted by diabetes.

“We always have tons of volunteers and our teams are really close knit,” Collins says. “It’s not just the ride, they look forward to the whole day, so we’re excited to see everyone.”

Jess Williams is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer and a student at Ithaca College. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *