Last month, Denver Broncos quarterbackJay Cutler-- who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last spring and established himself as one of the National Football League’s top young quarterbacks with a Pro Bowl season in 2008 -- will become an ambassador for the Inspired by Diabetes campaign.
TuDiabetes (DHF) had a chance to interview Jay Cutler , the QB Denver Bronco's!! We don't see a lot celebrities/athletes educating people about Diabetes. We decided to take the opportunity to interview Jay Culter to let everyone living with diabetes know you can still live with it and be successful. Don't let Diabetes stop you or your dreams.
Here is the TuDiabetes Q&A with Jay Cutler. I hope you all enjoy!
What symptoms did you have prior to diagnosis?
A: I was sick most of the 2007 season and lost about 35 pounds. I was going to the bathroom a lot and drinking a lot of water. I knew something was wrong, and things went through my mind, like did I have cancer? So it was actually a relief when they told me it was diabetes, because I’d had these symptoms for six months and I didn’t know what was going on.
What was your first reaction when you were told you have diabetes?
A: I tried to learn everything I could about it, read a lot online. I just wanted to know what I had to do to manage it and keep playing football. So I learned to adjust to the insulin shots and the finger pricking and figure out how it would change my diet and my lifestyle.
Does diabetes run in your family?
A: No, I’m the only one in my family who has been diagnosed.
Do you wear a pump? If so, do you wear it during the games?
A: I tried a pump when I was first diagnosed, but it was tough to fit it into my line of work and my lifestyle.
How does being a diabetic affect you being an athlete, meaning how do you control your High and low blood sugar's during the game?
A: I check my blood sugar about four different times before the game and I try to stay around 150-160. In the first half, I’ll test a few times to make sure I’m not getting low. The emotions and adrenaline can send me down in a hurry. If I’m steady in the first half, I don’t check as often in the second half. When we played Kansas City this year, I could feel myself getting low during the first quarter, so I came off and drank some Gatorade and got it back up.
What is the "Inspired by Diabetes" campaign?
A: Inspired by Diabetes (inspiredbydiabetes.com)is a unique philanthropic initiative that uses art to provide diabetes summer camp scholarships for kids in the United States. Globally, the program contributes to a program that provides care for children with diabetes in developing countries.
We’re encouraging all people touched by diabetes, particularly children and their families, to share their stories through visual and written creative expressions such as art, essays, poems or photography. By entering, you can have a direct impact on children with diabetes, through the money Lilly is donating to the ADA for each entry to provide scholarships for diabetes camps.
I’m honored to join the Inspired by Diabetes campaign to help people tell their stories of dealing with diabetes --- and help kids who need it. This is a great way to reach people affected by this condition, and I’m looking forward to connecting with more families dealing with the ups and downs of diabetes.
Can you tell us about the Jay Cutler foundation? Does it involve diabetes?
A: The Jay Cutler Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for underprivileged children and people with diabetes. We support some local charities for kids in Denver. The Mount Saint Vincent Home provides services and programs for children with a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems that prevent them from functioning to their full potential. And the Reverend Leon Kelly's Open Door Program is a leader in our community who helps prevent gang violence. So we work with kids. And, of course, now we’re working with Lilly on the Inspired by Diabetes campaign and helping send more kids to diabetes camps.
What advice would you give to someone who has diabetes and wants to become a athlete?
A: I want people to be inspired by my story and by other people’s stories. That’s why we want people to enter the Inspired by Diabetes contest, and tell us their story of diabetes. I think it’s about getting the message across that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you want to do in life. Yeah, it’s tough. And not everyone is going to be an NFL quarterback. But I was diagnosed with diabetes and had a better season in 2008 than I did in 2007, and I made the Pro Bowl. So you can achieve what you want to do in life, and you can use diabetes to inspire others to achieve. People see your story and say, “I can do that too.” So keep living and trying to prove diabetes doesn’t get in the way of your goals.