This week is the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Appreciation Week (NVAW), a time when we at the American Diabetes Association (Association) acknowledge the distinguished volunteers who bring our mission to life all over the country.
During NVAW 2014, we’d like to recognize one of our star volunteers who has gone above and beyond to help all of those affected by diabetes: Grammy Award winner Lil Jon. For him, raising awareness of diabetes is a personal mission, just as it is for so many others.
Before Lil Jon’s mother had a stroke due to type 2 diabetes complications, he was in the dark about the disease. “I just never knew anything before she had a stroke,” he says. “I didn’t even know that people with diabetes had strokes or kidney failure or heart disease. I didn’t know the history of the disease, or that it’s a lifelong disease.” After learning how important prevention and management is for type 2, he was armed and ready to get this information out to the public.
That’s why he rejoined the cast of NBC’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” in 2013, this time competing with the Association as the charity of his choice. By sharing his mother’s story and promoting the Association’s Diabetes Risk Test and research programs, as well as its services for people living with diabetes, Lil Jon earned a total of $195,000 to help Stop Diabetes®. Though he didn’t win first place, he believes he achieved what he set out to do.
Because of his participation on the show and its positive impact, Lil Jon received the American Diabetes Association Chair’s Citation Award at the Association’s annual Community Volunteer Leadership Conference last November in Nashville. This award provides national recognition to those who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment to advancing our mission. He has set an incredible example for others to follow, so no one has to go through what his family did when his mother passed away last year, just before the “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” aired.
“Of course we want a cure,” he says, “but we want to help our little ones and help people stay on top of it and manage the disease.”
Lil Jon is continuing to help the Association spread awareness about the seriousness of diabetes through social media and by talking about his personal story with the public. Each day we get closer to ending this deadly disease—but it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the thousands of volunteers who fight diabetes alongside Lil Jon every day. We thank these volunteers who dedicate their passion, skills and time to Stop Diabetes.
Help Lil Jon make life better for people with diabetes. Join him in the movement to Stop Diabetes today. You can find a life-changing volunteer opportunity in your area by visiting the Association’s Volunteer Center or becoming a part of the Association’s volunteer community on Facebook.