Perimeter Bicycling Announces Tucson Medical Center as El Tour Title Sponsor

image001Perimeter Bicycling Association of America is proud to announce a new partnership with Tucson Medical Center (TMC) on a title sponsorship agreement. TMC has joined one of the premier cycling events in the United States which will now be known as Tucson Medical Center El Tour de Tucson presented by Casino Del Sol Resort.

Tucson Medical Center reaches beyond its walls to educate and promote health, wellness and safety throughout Southern Arizona. Improving the health of the community is the core intent of all their efforts and the basis of an expanded role in El Tour. This is the 33rd year with more than 9,000 riders expected for the 2015 event Nov. 21, 2015.

“We are proud and excited to have Tucson Medical Center in a newly expanded role in El Tour,” said Richard DeBernardis, founder & president of El Tour de Tucson. “They have stepped into the position of title sponsor after having been associated with us for many years in other ways – most recently as sponsor of the El Tour Fun Ride. TMC has a reputation in the community for programs including wellness, education and information – a perfect fit with El Tour’s mission of  bicycling for better mental and physical health.  The mission and vision of TMC is a vibrant one and we are honored to be a part of it.”

Since the event’s inception in 1983, 12 title sponsors have been part of Perimeter’s El Tour history.

“As Tucson’s nonprofit community hospital, Tucson Medical Center is proud to be the title sponsor of El Tour de Tucson,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit, Tucson Medical Center. “TMC’s support is another example of our commitment to promoting health and wellness in Southern Arizona. El Tour is one of Tucson’s hallmark events for cyclists of all ages and fitness levels and we are delighted that athletes from here at home and across the globe will once again have the opportunity to ride and race. The energy around this event is contagious and we believe that it is foundational in making Tucson one of the healthiest cities in the nation. We are Tucson. And we are thrilled to sponsor El Tour.”

Easter Seals Blake Foundation became El Tour’s primary beneficiary earlier this year. “Easter Seals Blake Foundation is fully committed to the health and well-being of our community. El Tour offers us a wonderful opportunity to highlight our shared values,” said Ema Kammeyer, C.E.O. of Easter Seals Blake Foundation. “El Tour demonstrates the essence of what Easter Seals is about: working in partnership, providing support and inspiring action so that everyone can reach for and realize their full potential.”

DeBernardis also announced an upcoming change for next year’s El Tour. The 2016 event will premier a new 25-mile start in the Town of Marana. The partnership will showcase Marana as a great bicycling community. “The Town of Marana is looking forward to collaborating with Perimeter Bicycling to offer a segment of El Tour in Marana.  Our community values healthy living and outdoor recreation, and this event is the perfect opportunity to showcase these efforts,” said Gilbert Davidson, Marana Town Manager.

The 33rd El Tour is dedicated to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly. Perimeter Bicycling looks for individuals who serve as examples of achievement and who overcome life’s obstacles. “We have enormous respect for Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly and for what they’ve had to overcome,” said DeBernardis. “We are honoring Gabby and Mark for dedicated service to their country and for electing to use bicycling as a means to get back to good mental and physical health.”

In 2014, in excess of $8.2 million was raised for more than 40 charitable agencies. The 33rd El Tour is a little over five weeks away and expects 9,000 cyclists from around the world raising $10 million for 50 non-profit agencies. Historically, the event has brought in more than 8,000 riders with an estimated 35,000 spectators at last year’s event alone. A conservative estimate of El Tour’s annual economic impact to Tucson is $18 million. National magazines have consistently ranked Tucson as one of the top cycling cities in the United States.

DeBernardis founded El Tour in 1983, a 198-person event raising $5,500, with the objective of making it the United States’ largest charity-fundraising bicycling event. He’s done that with more than $51 million raised for charities throughout the event’s 32-year history. The event also serves the community by educating cyclists of the importance of fitness through cycling.

We tip our hats to Rock ‘N Rodeo honorees Brent Berge and Jerry Cannella

RNR logoThe 16th annual Rock ‘N Rodeo on Saturday night will honor two men whose support has been both steadfast and absolutely critical to the success of the event year after year.

Brent Berge & Jerry Cannella

Brent Berge & Jerry Cannella

Brent Berge and Jerry Cannella have truly set the bar among businesses in Tucson with their commitment and dedication to TMC.  “For a local business to consistently step up as a significant source of support for 16 years is truly remarkable,” said Michael Duran, vice president and Chief Development Officer, TMC Foundation.

Hospice volunteer and former Rock ‘N Rodeo co-chair Lynne McGregor walked into Desert Toyota in 1996 to ask for their sponsorship.  “Her warmth and sincerity was something we couldn’t refuse,” said Cannella.  “After spending time with Lynne we felt like the cause was more than worthy of our support.”

As the title sponsor of Rock ‘N Rodeo, Desert Toyota has provided the financial means to help TMC Hospice continue to grow as a valuable program and support system for families in Southern Arizona.  Over the years, Desert Toyota’s contributions have supported the construction of Peppi’s House, the 16-bed in-patient home for TMC Hospice, along with complementary therapies and a special emergency fund to cover services for families in need.

The annual Rock ‘N Rodeo has become a tradition for the Desert Toyota team.  “The employees feel privileged to be part of the whole thing,” said Cannella.  “They realize how much hospice does for people.”

Berge and Cannella’s commitment to hospice goes beyond their sponsorship role and touches on a more personal side.  Cannella had a family member and a good friend who experienced hospice care, and Berge has had several employees’ loved ones as patients in hospice care as well.

“The Desert Toyota team is honored to contribute to such a special community service,” said Berge.  “The entire hospice team is made up of incredibly wonderful people from the upper leadership to the nursing staff, social workers and patient care techs.”

TMC Hospice has become part of the Desert Toyota family, and Berge and Cannella are part of the TMC family.  Their support and dedication to our community is honorable as they continue to leave their mark on TMC Hospice.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461