Tour de Cure 2023 and the fight against diabetes
2023 finally brought better news with respect to the pandemic, as vaccinations and improved treatment options helped to greatly reduce the threat of serious illness and death. Doctors and scientists learned so much about the pandemic in a short time and made it possible for most activities to return to normal after only three years. If only our progress with diabetes had proceeded as quickly! Regrettably, diabetes still remains a leading cause of death worldwide as well as a high risk factor for COVID complications. So, with continued urgency, I’m writing to ask you to help support this year’s Tour de Cure (TDC), the signature fund-raising event for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). TDC cycling events are held in over 80 cities and 40 states nationwide to help provide diabetes research, information, and advocacy.
As with so many things, the pandemic presented a huge challenge to philanthropic causes, not only locally but world-wide. Last year’s TDC was no exception, and ridership and fund raising were down significantly compared to prior years. Unfortunately, this decline occurred at a time when the need was never greater, due in part to the risks that diabetics had in contracting COVID, as well as in developing long-COVID symptoms, or even developing diabetes after contracting COVID. In contrast to the declines in many chronic diseases due to advanced medical technology, most statistics on diabetes remain depressingly high. For all these reasons, there is a huge need to rebuild TDC after the pandemic, to make it even more successful in raising awareness, funding research, and just plain helping those affected by the disease.
This is a highly personal cause for me because I have been a Type 2 diabetic for almost 20 years. It runs in my family, and my father, Bill Stafford, who was diagnosed and began treatment nearly 60 years ago, was insulin-dependent for about 20 years. He died in 2013, and in 2014, I dedicated my race in his honor.
This year will be my 16th consecutive ride, and in that time, our team has raised about $70,000 for this very worthy cause. Last year, the event resumed as an in-person, supported ride after two long years as a “virtual tour.” My former employer, Pacific Plumbing Supply, has had a team every year since 2008, and I’m pleased to report that my wife, Janet, together with several friends and business associates who have joined me in the past, will ride again. Our plan this year is to ride the 30-mile tour. Last year, I retired from 20 years at Pacific Plumbing Supply on, and the next day, I’m pleased to report that the TDC ride was the very first thing I did in retirement!
I am continually surprised at how many people I know who have diabetes. This disease has no cure, and the staggering number of people affected by diabetes today gives diabetes an extremely big and broad impact. This disease is one of the most widespread health concerns in the US and worldwide, and virtually everyone knows someone who is affected. Some facts about diabetes:
- It is estimated that 11.3% of the US population (over 1 in 10) has diabetes, representing about 37.3 million children and adults, including 23% who are undiagnosed. It is estimated that every 17 seconds someone in the US is diagnosed with diabetes, amounting to over 1.5 million Americans per year. Also, it is estimated that 96 million Americans 18 and older have prediabetes (elevated blood sugar levels), which amounts to 38% of the adult population.
- If current trends continue, 1 in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
- It is estimated that 1 out of every 4 healthcare dollars in the U.S. is spent on caring for those with diabetes. On average, diabetes more than doubles an individual’s average medical cost.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, diabetes emerged as an underlying condition that increases the chance of severe illness. Nearly 4 in 10 adults who died from COVID-19 in the US also had diabetes. Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Worldwide, approximately 537 million adults are living with diabetes. This is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030.
- Worldwide, diabetes caused 6.7 million deaths, affected 1 in 6 live births, and totaled nearly $1 trillion of healthcare cost.
- 85% of the world’s foot amputations are a result of diabetes. Every day, 230 Americans with diabetes require an amputation.
How Can You Help?
The good news is that after almost 2 decades of continual increases, the incidence of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States decreased significantly from 2009 to 2019. So, we are having an impact! Over the last ten years, I have been overwhelmed by and extremely grateful for the response to my fund-raising. Many of you supported us very generously and I really appreciated it. Thanks to everyone's help, our team and I have been top fund-raisers each year (last year we raised over $10,000 as the top corporate team). We are hoping to post large increases in riders and fund raising from our local event. Nationally, Tour de Cure participants have raised nearly $30 million yearly to help support the mission.
Wouldn’t it be a tremendous feeling to know you helped advance this cause to a whole new level? If you agree, I hope you will join me in helping to make the 2023 TDC a record-breaker! Truly, it is worth your time and investment. It is very quick and easy to contribute (tax-deductible of course). Just click on the "Donate to Me" button above this message. Also, we welcome more riders, so if you would like to join our team and ride, click on the "Join My Team" button.
Thanks so much for your help!