Last Month, we had the honor of being a sponsor for the Vince Wilfork Foundation‘s 10th Annual Draft Night Fundraiser. The event raises money for diabetes research, a cause that is close to the New England Patriots tackle’s heart. David Wilfork, Vince’s father, passed away from complications due to Type II diabetes in 2000, and through his foundation, Vince hopes to fund research, but also educate others about the disease.
Type II diabetes is a widespread affliction. According to the American Diabetes Association:
“Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos,Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.”
A passage from Williams Texbook of Endocrinology details the complications of diabetes [many of which are very commonplace in the United States nowadays]. Type 2 diabetes is typically a chronic disease associated with a ten-year-shorter life expectancy. This is partly due to a number of complications with which it is associated, including: two to four times the risk of cardiovascular disease, including ischemic heart diseaseand stroke; a 20-fold increase in lower limb amputations, and increased rates of hospitalizations. In the developed world, and increasingly elsewhere, type 2 diabetes is the largest cause of non-traumatic blindness and kidney failure. It has also been associated with an increased risk of cognitive dysfunction and dementia through disease processes such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Clearly, diabetes is not a disease to take lightly, but many people do, not seeing it as a serious threat. Vince Wilfork and his family are hoping to change that.
I think that too much emphasis is placed on the bad things professional athletes do, and not enough attention is paid to the good. Some, like Wilfork, are quiet warriors. They don’t raise money for PR purposes – they don’t need to. They’re not flashy or loud. They believe in doing good, and good is exactly what they do.
In New England we’re known for a lot of things; our accents, lobstah, Sam Adams beeyah, sports, the inability to use our car’s directional … but we’re also known for our philanthropy and intolerance of anyone who is inauthentic. That’s why New Englanders LOVE the Kraft family. When Bob Kraft bought this team in the mid 90s, we sighed collectively with relief. Perhaps this was our time. [This is about the point in Patriots retrospective video shown at the Hall at Patriot Place where I start getting teary-eyed.]
Not only have we come to love the Krafts for the winning record they brought to New England, but we also love them for their dedication to philanthropic and charitable causes through the Patriots Charitable Foundation. And at Vince Wilfork’s Draft Party, Josh Kraft presented the Wilforks with a $10,000 check for the Vince Wilfork Foundation. Talk about supporting your players.