Mark Griffin doesn’t feel alone anymore.
On Sunday, Griffin participated in the American Diabetes Association’s Saratoga Tour de Cure with more than 2,500 others to raise money for the fight against diabetes, a disease that has made his life difficult since he was a child.
“It’s amazing seeing all these people here riding for the same cause,” said the Saratoga Springs resident. “I’m excited for the fundraiser and the awareness it can bring to the disease.”
Griffin was among roughly 200 “red riders,” participants with either type-1 or type-2 diabetes who wore red jerseys during the event.
According to Denise Nicastro, associate director of the annual event, more than $1 million was raised during the 18th edition of the tour, a figure she said is indicative of the outpouring of support participants have received from community.
“It’s amazing to see everyone come together and really have fun participating in such a great ride,” she said. “We have been able to raise a lot of money for a disease that affects a lot of people, both directly and indirectly.”
The Saratoga event is typically one of the top fundraisers each year.
The Tour de Cure is a series of cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association and its fight against diabetes. The tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the dedicated enthusiast. The event includes 10-, 28-, 50-, 62.5- and 100-mile routes, as well as a three-hour spin class for those who want to contribute but prefer a stationary bike.
Sunday was a picture-perfect day for riding, with temperatures rising to around 65 degrees by late morning. Dozens of cyclists at the event were smiling ear to ear, and many were thrilled to participate in the event.
“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said JoAnne Tomsula of Saratoga Springs. “It’s a gorgeous day, and we’re all out here for a great cause. I just love it.”
Syndey Steinhardt, 13, of Guilderland, who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 8, has been riding in the event for the last five years.
“My dad told me about it after I was diagnosed, and I was completely against it, I really wanted nothing to do with it,” she said. “But after he dragged me over here and I had a great time with my friends, we kept coming back. Now it’s just a tradition.”
Angelo Valentino, who was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes five years ago, rode in the tour with family several members, who, in total, raised more than $2,000.
“The ride is great,” said Valentino, noting that he would ride only 10 miles. “It’s so important for people with diabetes to exercise and drink lots of water. This event shows people with diabetes that there are things they can do to take control of the disease and not let it control them. Having that confidence is invaluable.”
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