Talk about a kick in the teeth.
Anyone who's ever wandered around the Wayward Home awhile knows that I've been up to my ever-receding hairline in the ADA Tour de Cure since I first rode one in 2010. That all came to a screeching halt last week when I got a phone call from the regional ADA office letting me know that our home Tour in Watkins Glen had been cancelled by the corporate ADA management effective immediately.
No explanation, no apology, no regret from anyone in upper management. No email, no notification, no nothing. Not even a fare-thee-well and thanks for the memories. You are dismissed.
They killed the Tour and disowned a whole community of diabetics, teams, riders, volunteers and supporters with one stroke of the pen and not a word to any of us. I got a corporate-speak explanation from our regional manager that basically said...well...nothing.
And I quote, "The organization believes this new way of operating will help us invest our
donor dollars more effectively and efficiently, and leverage the collective
talents of our staff and volunteers."
What exactly does 'leverage the collective talents of our staff and volunteers' mean? If you alienate your volunteers and eliminate your staff, is that leverage? When you destroy a Tour that's 80% ready to go more than six months ahead of event day, is that more effective and efficient?
ADA, you just poisoned an entire area of New York to your cause effectively and efficiently. The people you so blithely cast off were the heart and soul of the mission. They didn't do what they did for a salary or as a career move like so many of the your executives I've met. They did it because they believed in the mission. They believed.
They weren't 'constituents' or 'stakeholders' or 'assets'...they were real live people who saw a need and did everything they could to fill it. They were crusaders and zealots and they bent over backwards to fight diabetes.
They had names like the people we dedicated our rides to...Leanne, Elton, Ian, Caleb, Amy, Kevin, Adam, Donnie, Sandy and so many others.
I look back at all we did and can't help but feel overwhelmed. We did what we did for love and friendship and a whoopin' good time on Tour day. We did it for the Red Riders and the people we've lost and the hope that we'd win one day and have to find another disease to ride against.
But they pulled the rug right out from under us. We're homeless and Tour-less.
So where do I go from here? I don't really know yet. Maybe it's time to take a break from fundraising for a while and just ride...catch my breath and think a bit. The Tour was a focus for me during some really dark days when nothing much seemed to matter. Maybe it's time to do something else...
I haven't figured it out. I'm sort of out of sorts when something that I put so much into just stops. Cold turkey really doesn't describe it.
Another page turned I guess and another road ridden. And so far yet to go...