When NBA All-Star Corey Brewer was in high school, both of his parents were diagnosed with diabetes.

“I wasn’t aware of diabetes at all,” he says, explaining his mother was hospitalized for high blood sugar. “When my mom was in ICU, it hit me: ‘Wow, this is a serious thing.’”

Many other members of Brewer’s family also have diabetes. Brewer’s father died four years ago, from diabetes and heart disease. His mother, who is doing well and managing her diabetes, is very proud of her son and his diabetes advocacy.

Raising awareness

Throughout his high school and college basketball years, Brewer naturally became an advocate for diabetes awareness. Today, as an eight-year NBA veteran who plays small forward and shooting guard for the Houston Rockets, Brewer’s committed to helping adults and kids get tested and learn their diabetes risks.

“Get yourself checked. You never know if you have it,” he says, noting it’s important to have healthy eating habits. “Just be aware. Diabetes is something serious. You want to test to see if you have it.”

A foundation for learning

Brewer is the father of two boys, ages 7 and 2. He’s also the founder of The Corey Brewer Foundation and Back2Back Basketball summer camps, which raise money and awareness for diabetes education campaigns. Since it started six years ago, the basketball camp has raised over $25,000 for the University of Florida Diabetes Institute, where Brewer went to college.

ACTIVE ADVOCACY: After his father passed and his mother went to the ICU, both due to diabetes, Corey Brewer has worked to raise awareness for diabetes as well as money for diabetes education and research.

The camp, which is open to kids ages 9 to 18, had 90 participants last year. “It’s something I love to do,” he says, “and it’s for a good cause.”

Brewer continues to live by the words his father told him: “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.” As a mentor for kids, including young athletes, he offers this advice: “You’ve got to listen to your parents, work hard in school and if you want to go far in life, you need to have a good education,” he says. “Take care of your body; eat right and exercise.”