Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Georgia's Cyclists are Pedaling Hard to Stop Diabetes at Local Tour de Cure Event

/PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to reduce the growing prevalence of diabetes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa), is the premiere sponsor of the Atlanta Tour de Cure® (TDC) on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at Bouckaert Farm in Fairburn, Georgia. This multi-faceted ride is the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) annual national cycling event benefitting diabetes research and advocacy to help change the future of diabetes and help stop its devastating complications.

The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure event is more than just a fun day outdoors. Participating in the Tour is about giving hope to the 26 million people currently living with diabetes, as well as to their families and their friends – ultimately finding a cure and preventing the threat faced by the 57 million Americans currently at risk.

To further enhance this commitment, Morgan Kendrick, BCBSGa president has been appointed as the Tour's Executive Sponsor, where he will be responsible for communicating the importance of BCBSGa's partnership with the ADA to both internal and external audiences throughout the state, in addition to serving as a corporate contact for other companies interested in joining the event.

"I am honored to serve as the Executive Sponsor and have already joined our BCBSGa Blue Blazers team," said Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa. "In fact, we are encouraging our employees to support this cause by joining our cycling team or to volunteer their time at the event. The Tour provides a great opportunity for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia's employees to join together for a day of fun, fitness and entertainment."

"More than likely we all know someone impacted by diabetes," continued Kendrick. "I know that's true for me and true for a majority of our 3,200 employees across the state. We really want Georgians to know that we've joined the movement to stop diabetes."

Individuals and teams composed of co-workers, family and friends will be taking the ride of their life and will join the groundswell of a combined 40,000-plus cyclists and volunteers who will be participating in events across the country. Tour de Cure is designed for all skill levels from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist and offers five routes, including:

* 10-Mile Fun Ride: This Family-Friendly Fun Ride is accessible to all ages and fitness levels, featuring a flat, enjoyable road that stretches along a serene area of the Silk Sheets trail.
* 14-Mile Ride: The 14-mile ride offers a moderate challenge while being safe and scenic. Frequent rest stops and plenty of SAG patrols make this ride a great choice for everyone, from the beginner to intermediate cyclist.
* 34-Mile Ride: The 34-mile ride is the perfect choice for an intermediate cyclist. This scenic route offers a greater challenge and yet is fully supported by our SAG vehicles and full rest stops.
* 62-Mile Metric Century: This 62-mile metric century features a fun yet challenging ride through the Silk Sheets - a perfect choice for the advanced cyclist or a rider who wants an even greater challenge. Full route support ensures a safe ride from start to finish.
* 100-Mile Century: This 100-mile century is a true test of endurance – best suited for the experienced cyclist. Traversing 100 miles on Fairburn's (Silk Sheets) best roads guarantee an unforgettable experience.

"We are truly excited to have Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia as a sponsor of this momentous national event here in Georgia," said Michael Gault, Senior Executive Director, Atlanta/North Georgia Region American Diabetes Association. "Their contributions will help provide needed funds to help the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes – including more than 1 million Georgians."

"I encourage other Georgia companies and individuals to start their own team because every dollar raised benefits diabetes research," said Kendrick.

The Tour de Cure raises funds through registration fees and pledges collected by the individual cyclists. To register visit: or call Aimee Simpson at 404-320-7100 x3034.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thousands to Hit the Streets in the Fight Against Hunger on March 13

More Than 10,000 Metro Atlantans Expected to Participate in Hunger Walk/Run

Unemployment remains at record levels in Georgia, causing many more people to seek help to feed their families. The Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) and others are working harder than ever to meet the continued demand and are hoping Hunger Walk/Run 2011 will bring out a record number of participants to help raise funding, awareness and hope for the issue of hunger.

The Food Bank, along with five other local hunger-relief programs and thousands of metro Atlantans will gather at Turner Field’s Green Lot on Sunday, March 13 to walk and run through Downtown, marking the 27th year of the annual event. Gates open at Noon and the walk/run steps off at 2 p.m.

The number of people needing emergency food assistance in metro Atlanta has risen to a critical level in recent years. According to the latest US Census Bureau American Community Survey report released in September 2010, nearly 1.6 million Georgians are living in poverty, up from 1.4 million in 2008. So far this fiscal year, the ACFB’s distribution to its more than 700 nonprofit partner agencies has increased by 40 percent.

“Hunger – Walk for It – Not Away from It,” is the mantra for Hunger Walk/Run 2011 organizers who are serious about responding to the need, recruiting record numbers of participants, and raising more funds than ever. “The Hunger Walk/Run is one of our most important fundraisers each year,” said Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “As a number of recent studies have shown, more and more people are struggling to put food on the table. The money raised at this event will help us continue to meet the growing need here in metro Atlanta, now and in the coming months.”

While the Walk/Run addresses a serious problem, it doesn’t run short on fun. Participants will be energized by the full scope of activities such as a 22 foot slide, a golf chip-shot area, and a children’s obstacle course to get everyone excited about, and energized for, the event. “This is a fun and memorable event for everyone,” said Holly Royston, Hunger Walk/Run manager. “In addition to the 5K walk and run, we’re creating an exciting, festival atmosphere in the Green Lot to kick off the afternoon. Our stage show will feature a performance by Sounds of Essence, as

well as Brenda Wood from 11Alive and Mara Davis from 92.9 davefm serving as our emcees. We’ll have music and giveaways from 92.9 davefm, 104.7 The Fish and V103/WAOK. There is so much to do before you even take that first step on the route!”

Walkers and runners will step off at Turner Field just outside Monument Grove, and travel a scenic, historic route throughout downtown Atlanta with live performers supporting them along the way – performers include STRATOGEEZER, Praise in Motion dancers and Emerson Drummers drum core, among others.

While “day-of” registration will be available, participants are encouraged to register online at and invite friends and family to join them at the event or make a donation. The runners’ registration fee is $25, which includes a special Hunger Walk/Run moisture wicking t-shirt. There is no charge for walkers to participate, but a $25 donation is encouraged, and those donating or collecting $25 or more will receive an official Hunger Walk/Run 2011 t-shirt.

Once again, Episcopal Charities Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, and St. Vincent De Paul Society are partnering with ACFB to recruit participants and raise funds. As the only race in the community that benefits more than just one nonprofit, Hunger Walk/Run has become a beloved tradition. From families and individuals to faith groups and corporate teams, this event offers the rare occasion to bring people together from almost every race, generation and religion in metro Atlanta.

The committee worked hard to add some fresh ideas on fundraising last year, helping to raise over $500,000. “With an event that has been around for a while, we were especially surprised by the generosity of the community,” said Royston. “We hope to build on the momentum and raise even more this year!”

The Hunger Walk began as a small volunteer event created in response to domestic and international hunger issues in 1984. The Atlanta Community Food Bank has helped organize the Hunger Walk/Run every year since it began, and in 1988 it became a special project of the Food Bank. Since then, millions of dollars have been raised, helping to feed hundreds of thousands of people who struggle with hunger or the threat of hunger.

For more information on Hunger Walk/Run 2011, visit www.HWR2011org, call 404-892-3333 ext. 1246, or email for more information. We’ll see you there!