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Granger’s Campaign to Stop Diabetes is Personal

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

September 18, 2013

Danny Granger spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since the Pacers Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals at Miami. The reason: a cause that hits home.

For the past year, he’s been part of an All-Star trio, which includes Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings and Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala, serving as ambassadors for the NBA’s Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign.

"I definitely wanted to get involved due to the fact that my family – diabetes has really impacted us pretty hard," Granger said. "My grandfather has it, my father has it, and I have three uncles that also have it, which leads me to believe that I may get it later down the line. Hopefully not. I wanted to join the cause to help people become aware how at risk a lot people are to type 2 diabetes."

Last Saturday, Granger spent a few hours at the Eskenazi Health Center Grassy Creek Health Fair to bring awareness and interact with fans.

"The health fair was to raise awareness to pretty much everything," he said. "They had people doing blood pressure and diabetes. I signed some autographs and spoke to some people and talked to the kids, just to try and get them to be aware of things that they’re putting into their bodies." While at the event, even Granger went through the stations and had numerous tests, including his blood pressure.

Granger said his father, Danny Granger, Sr., didn’t even know that he had diabetes until he was almost 50.

"He had the craziest mood swings that I had ever seen," Granger recalled. "Once he finally got tested for it, they told him that he had it and he changed like night and day. He was more (level-headed) throughout the day and what not. My grandfather would have diabetic attacks and he’d go somewhere and we wouldn’t be able to find him and then he’d wake up somewhere and not remember anything. We’ve had a lot of personal experience with diabetes."

That’s why Danny, who turned 30 in April, has gotten (even more) serious about his health. He already had a personnel chef, a move he made a few years into his NBA career on the advice of the team. But now, more than ever, he said he’s eating healthier and is more cautious with what he consumes.

"I’ve already got with my doctor and I told him that I was probably more predisposed to it, not only because of my family history but also being Afrian-American," said Granger. "I just changed my eating habits and tried to cut back on all the bad sugars."

Folks have no good reason to put off getting tested. The statistics are staggering.

More than 26 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes, which means every 17 seconds, someone new is diagnosed with the disease. 19 percent of all African-Americans 20 or older have it and over 12 million American women at least 20 years of age are living with it. In Indianapolis alone, more than 65,000 citizens have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Granger’s advice?

"You can’t be afraid to get tested. Sometimes, people say 'What you don’t know can’t hurt you.' I don’t think that’s absolutely true in this scenario. You need to get tested. You need to find out if you have it or if you have a high risk to have it.

"I think as a society, especially America, we’ve kind of evolved into eating more healthy and they’re kinda outlawing drinks with a lot of sugary content. I think we’re going towards that area but I think we need to put more emphasis in changing lifestyle habits to make you safer."

In addition to taking the test, Granger encourages everyone to go out of his or her way to be active and live a healthy lifestyle. Park further away, take the long route to your desk, and be involved.

Folks can go online to DribbletoStopDiabetes.com to take the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Risk test. I did, and it took less than 45 seconds.

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