For NBA Star Ray Allen, Caring for Diabetes Is a Family Affair
Advocacy As a world champion and the number one three-point shooter of all time, basketball has come easy for Ray Allen. Caring for and managing his son's Type 1 Diabetes however, has proven to be a new challenge altogether.
Put to the test
During the 2008 NBA finals, Ray Allen’s strength was challenged, but not in ways limited to the basketball court. Allen and his wife Shannon received test result confirmation that their son Walker had Type 1 Diabetes (T1D.)
“When Walker was diagnosed with T1D it was as if the rug had been pulled out from under us,” recalls Allen. A diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes would devastate any parent. Children and adults with Type 1 diabetes cannot survive without multiple, daily insulin injections or an insulin pump. Long-term effects can include kidney failure, blindness, and heart attack.
"Today, Walker is “thriving in Miami,” benefiting from increased exercise, sunshine, and his parents’ devotion."
The Allen family, which also includes daughter Tierra, and sons Rayray, Wynn, and Wystan, manages Walker’s diabetes with the same fierce determination that the NBA's all-time leader in three-point shooting exhibits on the court. “We focus on being prepared,” Allen explains. “We do not go anywhere without Walkers ‘diabetes’ bag — his kit of glucose monitors, test strips, alcohol swabs, emergency snacks and glucagon. He also always wears a bracelet identifying that he has Type 1 Diabetes in case Shan or I (God forbid) are ever incapacitated.”
A sense of community
Shannon found hope, community and information through their advocacy for JDRF, an organization that supports Type 1 Diabetes research. “We are raising funds to equip the brightest scientific minds to not only improve Walker’s life with medical advances, but to work on getting us closer to our cure," says Allen.
Today, Walker is “thriving in Miami,” benefiting from increased exercise, sunshine, and his parents’ devotion.