By Scott Crossen
Special to the Berthoud Recorder
Recently, a friend of mine invited me to participate in the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Tour de Cure. The invitation seemed appropriate since I have had Type 1 diabetes for nearly 40 years. I liked the name for what it implied and took interest in becoming part of an event seemingly designed to find a cure for diabetes. I asked my friend if he knew how much money raised was applied to find a cure — he didn’t know. Based on the event’s name, I assumed that the majority of net funds raised in the event would be applied to find a cure for this disabling condition.
However, having past experience with fundraising for the ADA, I felt it would be worthwhile to follow up on finding out how much of the money from the Tour de Cure is truly allocated towards finding a cure. I began with the Tour de Cure’s Web site and left an e-mail with the following question; “What percentage of money raised through this event is applied directly to research to find a cure for diabetes?”
It wasn’t long before I received a response from ADA’s Tour de Cure National Associate Director, Sara Prevost. Prevost’s e-mail consisted of various hyperlinks related to how the ADA spends money (general administrative, education, prevention, children’s camps, research, and fund-raising efforts). Prevost’s response also included an example of how a different and prominent fundraising machine (Lance Armstrong Foundation) raises and spends money and what amounts are needed to promote their fundraising campaigns. (It seemed an attempt to justify spending more on fundraising than to find a cure). My question remained unanswered.
One of the links Prevost provided went to the ADA Web site where there is an abundance of information related to their programs and some information on general research. After drilling through the information I could not find one study indicating the research was targeted to find a cure. Admittedly, understanding the causes and effects of a disease might contribute to finding a cure — perhaps, that’s the strategy.
I sent my question, again, via e-mail to the ADA national office, but did not receive a response. I then contacted the national office by phone, and repeated my question. After speaking with a few individuals who could not provide an answer, I was eventually routed to a phone that rang continuously (no ability to leave a message). The next day, I made another attempt. Once again, the individual I spoke with routed me to a number where no one answered and there wasn’t an option to leave a message.
I’m now left with the conclusion that the ADA either doesn’t have an answer to the question or they do not wish to publicly divulge the answer — my guess is the latter. Perhaps, the ADA’s Tour de Cure would more appropriately be called the Tour de Fund Raiser, or the Tour de Lure. I know it’s not as catchy or appealing, but at least it seems closer to the truth and less misleading.
For a disease that costs the American taxpayer over $175 billion per year, kills hundreds of thousands of people annually, is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and a host of other painful complications, one would hope that more effort would be applied by this massive fundraising machine to find a cure for this debilitating disease. Heaven knows, it’s long overdue.