Live. Work. Play: Eric’s Diabetes Story

Working for the American Diabetes Association® means making a difference for millions of people and working toward a future free of diabetes and all its burdens.

We all have a story to share. Some of us live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or prediabetes. Others have loved ones with the disease or have lost someone to the fight.

The following are personal stories from the Association’s staff about why we are so committed to the mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Eric Cortes
Senior Manager, Social Media & Digital Engagement
Home Office (Alexandria, Va.)

UntitledI’m almost two times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Why? Because I’m Latino.

When I started working with the American Diabetes Association in July 2015, this statistic became forever etched in my memory: Compared with non-Hispanic whites, the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes is 1.7 times higher among Latinos/Hispanics. Did it make me think twice about my eating habits and exercise regimen? It most certainly did. It also made me think about my family history.

I remember that after learning about my career move, my father mentioned that my mother was on the brink of developing prediabetes. She wasn’t diagnosed yet, but her doctors recommended she watch her eating habits and start moving more. This news made my father push her to exercise more often. “Go out for a walk during lunch,” he regularly tells her.

My grandmother was living with type 2 diabetes, but she recently passed away. I didn’t want my mom to face a similar type 2 diagnosis and its complications. When I visit my parents, I push my mom to take a walk and avoid those pesky eating habits we grew up with—and sometimes maintain today. When I was growing up, our family would constantly eat at fast-food restaurants.

In addition, after I told my brother and his wife I was moving to Virginia for the job, my sister-in-law mentioned her very close friend, Claire, who is living with type 1 diabetes. You may remember her from a recent Diabetes Stops Here blog post written by her mother, Marcie. Since meeting Claire, I’ve learned more about her, including how she manages her diabetes and the awesome fact that she’s been participating in Tour de Cure® for many years!

Team Moxie from left: Eric , Marcie and Claire.

Team Moxie from left: Eric , Marcie and Claire.

Claire spoke to me about her involvement with the Association’s local D.C. office and then asked if I wanted to join Team Moxie, the top Tour de Cure Family and Friends team in the local area. I gladly accepted the invitation to the event, which took place in June. It was going to be my first long ride—a challenging 36 miles—but I knew it would benefit my health in addition to raising funds for the Association. The ride was also a great opportunity to work with the local office and Claire to record a Facebook Live during her ride. (Go Red Rider! You can watch the recorded stream on our Tour de Cure Facebook page.)

And thank God for rest stops! I’m in no way an avid cyclist. I was happy to take quick breaks along the course. The raisins and energy drinks provided by volunteers boosted my will to keep going and finish. After completing the ride in about three and a half hours, I felt wonderful. In fact, the feeling was so good that I continued to ride my bicycle. I ride twice a week to and from work—4 miles each way—for a total of 16 miles a week. This is also helping me train for an upcoming 50-mile Tour de Cure!

So why did I become involved with the American Diabetes Association? It was an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of all people with diabetes. In the past year, I’ve learned so much that has helped not only with my own health, but also with the health of my family and friends. Working in social media also provides an opportunity to speak with people across the country and hear their stories. I’ve worked on many projects and campaigns that benefit the diabetes community. The disease can be scary, but I smile anytime I read or listen to a story on perseverance and overcoming the many obstacles diabetes throws at you.

It’s disheartening to read that 12.8 percent of the Latino/Hispanic population in the United States lives with diabetes. However, I’m happy to know that everything I work on—from a short tweet to an extensive Facebook Live video—makes a difference.

To learn more about nationwide employment opportunities and life at the Association, please visit

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This entry was posted in About Us, Family, Friends, High-Risk Populations, Parents, Staff Stories, Tour de Cure and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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