JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi is one of the top states for diabetes in the nation with about one in seven people living with the disease.
The women’s basketball coach at Jackson State University (JSU), Tomekia Reed, is trying to help lead the fight for a cure.
Reed is a champion on the court and has her team playing at the highest level, but one play that threw her off was when her son was diagnosed with diabetes at six-years-old.
“You know, he was delusional. You know, he had moments where he would sleepwalk. He had moments where he would use the restroom in different places of the house. He was extremely thirsty, you know, and he got to a point where he was just, you know, throwing up all the time,” she explained.
Reed continued, “He couldn’t hold food down, and so, it was just bad. He lost a lot of weight. And so initially, when that happens, as parents of type 1 diabetes kids, we think maybe it’s a growing spurt. Maybe he’s going through something growing wise. Let me give him more vitamins, and so, we try to self treat it. And it just kept continuing to get worse.”
“And so finally we took him to the doctor, to the hospital, and they rushed him into the E.R. and told us that he was in a very bad state. And, you know, that was a really tough moment for us. It was it was life changing,” she said.
The coach turned to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi for help searching for answers.
“The Diabetes Foundation here in Mississippi is phenomenal. When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they came to my side and aided me and made sure we had all the tools that we needed for him to live a normal life,” Reed said.
Her son, Carlon, is now 11-years-old. He said you’ve got to know your numbers and don’t give up.
“Don’t give up. Don’t be, don’t be tired. Just don’t. Don’t make yourself overwhelmed because you have to check your sugar most times. It’s pretty easy over the years. Be patient and keep looking good and take insulin,” he said.
Each year, Reed and the Lady Tigers participate in the Walk for Diabetes as Team Carlon. This year, Reed and Carlon are the honorary chairs of the walk.
“We want a cure we want to cure for type one diabetes. And in order to do so, we have to bring good research for it and educate and bring more awareness to it. And so at the walk, we had our t-shirts on. We had good team spirit. We had our chance going to support, not only Carlon, but all the type 1 diabetes patients that were out there,” she said.
The money raised from the walk stays in Mississippi to fund educational and assistance programs for adults and children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.