Last year I participated in the Saratoga Springs Tour de Cure, an annual bike ride that is held nationwide to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. One of the most inspiring things about the Tour are the Red Riders, individuals who live and ride with diabetes. To better explain what the Red Rider program is and about her own aspirations, I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the Red Rider program, Mari Ruddy!
She runs the daily business and management of TeamWILD, a program that teaches adults how to live with diabetes through exercise. She also coaches and speaks at ADA Tour de Cure rides. Mari’s working on a book that will no doubt highlight the success of the Red Riders, the health battles she’s personally fought and won, and offer guidance and insight for diabetics to truly live.
Tell me about the Red Rider program.
I’m the founder of the Red Riders, who are cyclists with diabetes. I also started the first Team Red. Now all 90 Tour de Cure rides have Red Riders and a Team Red. The first year there were 111 Red Riders. This summer, 2013, there will be [more than] 7,000 Red Riders in the US. In 2012, all the Red Riders together raised $3.9 million. The goal in 2013 is [for] the Red Riders [to] collectively raise $4.5 million. The Tour itself raised more than $26 million in 2012. These numbers are very exciting.
How much money does “your” Tour raise?
My “home” Tour for the past seven years was the one in Colorado. Now that I’ve moved back to my home state, I consider the Tour de Cure Twin Cities in Minnesota my home ride! We intend to raise $1 million this year at the Minnesota Tour.
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