Two time NBA champion guard Ray Allen, considered by many to be the greatest three point shooter ever to play basketball, has found himself squaring off against a new and much scarier opponent, diabetes.
Allen himself does not actually have the disease, but it does have a direct connection to his life. Walker Allen, the six year old son of Ray, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 17 months old. Since that diagnosis, Ray Allen and his wife have been taking on diabetes. There haven’t been many opponents Allen has not found a way to defeat.
The family has dedicated its efforts to search for a cure. Ray Allen and his family were in Washington D.C. on Wednesday morning, lobbying congress to continue funding type 1 diabetes research. Walker, a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Children’s Congress, gave his testimony to the senate today as to why continued research is important.
Despite being someone who initially didn’t know much about diabetes, Allen has become a major activist for a cure. “I can’t say I knew a lot about it” Allen said in an interview with SI Kids when asked about what he knew about type 1 diabetes before his son was diagnosed.
Although diabetes can wreak havoc on the lives of those impacted by it, Allen and his wife are doing everything possible to help their son overcome this challenge. He is playing basketball, which his dad watches whenever he is in town, and is “an exceptional son. He just has a spirit about him” according to his father.
When asked about what other children living with type 1 diabetes can do to better their lives, he recommended that they:
“Eat the right foods, that’s the most important thing. One of the things I hear from kids I know who have diabetes, and even adults who have it, and not only people with diabetes but people in general that are trying to lose weight, the hardest thing that they deal with is when they travel, trying to find an opportunity to eat the right foods. Fast foods end up being the only option, and when that’s the case you end up eating just to get yourself going. So what we stress is when you travel, take food with you. Put stuff in your bag like nuts and raisins, have fruit with you. So if you ever get caught where you’re stranded in the airport or you’re stranded in a car for a long time, you have food that’s good to eat that doesn’t force you to eat poorly.”
The NBA great also says that efforts to stop bullying enable children with diabetes to feel comfortable taking the shots needed to control their disease, without having to fear peer ridicule.
Ray Allen will continue to play for the Miami Heat next season, it will be his 18th in the NBA. He will be looking to defend the title the team won last season, the second of his career. Although he will continue to play professional basketball, Ray Allen has a new and more important opponent than he has ever faced before, diabetes, so far it is looking like it is another battle he has the ability to win.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express