Grassroots Diabetes Advocacy with All-Star NBA Player Jerry Stackhouse
As Andy Boyle discussed in a recent post, Sanofi US has partnered with three NBA teams to raise awareness about diabetes and the benefits of eating healthfully and being active. Today I’d like to share the story of one Healthy Lifestyles Ambassador, Jerry Stackhouse of the Brooklyn Nets.
Like the other Ambassadors, Jerry has a personal connection to diabetes. Two of his older sisters passed away from complications associated with diabetes, and his mother and father both live with type 2 diabetes.
As one of 11 children, Jerry draws inspiration from his parents. “My parents worked all their lives to support a large family,” he said. “When I was growing up, we were probably considered to be living under the poverty level by U.S. standards, but I never really felt that way because my parents did their best to get everything we ever needed. So in my mind I thought we were rich. As a very spiritual family, my parents gave me the foundation of right and wrong. They inspire me more than anyone I have ever met.”
Jerry has parlayed that inspiration into a life of community service by working with a variety of charitable organizations, and now Partner Up for Diabetes Awareness. “I think it is a natural thing for me to do, to use my notoriety to help get the word out. Seven million people live with diabetes and don’t even know it, according to the American Diabetes Association. I want to help them get the information they need to get tested and help manage it.”
In addition to being involved with the American Diabetes Association and JDRF, Jerry also founded the Triple Threat Foundation. “Other organizations focus on trying to find a cure. I wanted to create something with more of a grassroots effect,” he said. “For example, if somebody’s family was affected by diabetes and couldn’t work, I wanted to be able to help send their kid to college. I wanted to have a hand in something that can immediately impact people’s lives. That was my idea when I started the Triple Threat Foundation.”
Jerry has addressed Congress twice regarding the importance of funding for diabetes research. “It was an honor to be able to speak to them and share the story of my family situation,” he said. “Fortunately they welcomed my message, and it was a great experience.”
Through his diabetes awareness efforts, Jerry hopes that people will take heed of type 2 diabetes risk factors. “I want to make people aware of signs that they should take to heart. For instance, if you’re in the grocery store and have trouble reading signs, frequently have to use the bathroom or have a family history of diabetes like I do, you should get tested,” he said. “I know that I am not completely out of the woods because I have family members who live with diabetes, so I try to eat right, exercise and do all the things that I preach to other people about staying healthy.”
As a basketball player for nearly half his life, Jerry is now interested in possibly pursuing coaching following his playing career. “I never thought I would want to coach,” he said. “Then I started coaching my son’s team of 14-year-olds. After learning so many different things from playing for so long, it felt like it was a natural thing to continue my expertise. It’s very gratifying to work with those kids and see them get better day in and day out.”
Jerry puts so much energy into his diabetes awareness activities – I appreciate the dedication he brings to the cause. My thanks to him for sharing his time and story.
All the best,
Disclosures: Jerry Stackhouse is a paid Team Ambassador. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
Partner Up for Diabetes Awareness is a Sanofi US Diabetes partnership with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.