Former 6' 11" NBA Center Goes Back to School to Raise Awareness for Diabetes
West Bloomfield, MI, Mom Wins Contest for Basketball-Loving Son
In April 2005, then 12-year-old Morgan, who lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan, was diagnosed with type 1 (or juvenile) diabetes, but he hasn't let it get in his way of continuing to play basketball or succeeding with his academic goals.
Morgan had an extraordinary day today, World Diabetes Day. Former NBA center Chris Dudley attended school with him. Dudley played professional basketball for 16 years, including with the Portland Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks, and also has type 1 diabetes.
Mrs. Thompson was the grand-prize winner of the "Take Chris Dudley to School" Contest. Roche Diagnostics, the maker of ACCU-CHEK® products for people with diabetes, designed the nationwide contest for parents of children with diabetes in grades 5-8 to submit an entry about why former NBA center Chris Dudley should go to school with their child on World Diabetes Day.
Dudley went to Morgan's school, Orchard Lake Middle School.
"This has been an amazing day," Mrs. Thompson said. "I'm sure this event will let others know that diabetes doesn't have to stop you from reaching your dreams." Howard Thompson, Morgan's father, said, "He'll remember this for the rest of his life. Chris is truly a role model not only for children with diabetes but for everyone. Graduating from Yale and playing in the NBA are certainly tremendous achievements and demonstrate a great message for Morgan and his classmates."
Dudley spoke about playing in the NBA with diabetes and encouraged the students to work hard to accomplish their dreams. At nearly 7 feet, Dudley is almost 2 feet taller than the students he played basketball with during physical-education class.
"It's been a thrill to meet Morgan and his family. He has a great support system-his parents, school, friends and teammates, and healthcare providers-to help him successfully manage his diabetes as well as achieve his dream of playing professional basketball. To see him working so hard is really inspiring," said Dudley.
"This has been a wonderful opportunity for Morgan, his classmates, and our school. One of our goals is to create a positive and caring environment for our students, and Chris is an example of what it means to be compassionate for others and to be successful," said Peter Paulon, assistant principal, Orchard Lake Middle School.
Mrs. Thompson's winning entry:"A visit from Chris Dudley would be an unbelievable moment for my son, Morgan. Morgan walks, talks and eats basketball! It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that at the age of two Morgan dribbled and drooled simultaneously. Morgan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, April 2005, at the age of 12. Morgan has faced this new challenge with courage. Morgan quickly realized that monitoring of his blood glucose is the key to staying fit and a must if he is to fulfill his dream of playing professional basketball after college. Morgan is concerned that diabetes has hurt 'his game' (he didn't make the 7th Grade Team). This visit would reinforce the idea that diabetes (or any disease) doesn't define a person and you can achieve your dream like Chris did."To view the finalists' entries, go to www.accu-chek.com.
About Chris Dudley
Chris Dudley is the president and founder of the Dudley Foundation, which was established in 1994 in order to help children pursue their dreams. The Dudley Foundation is dedicated to kids and diabetes, and provides educational programs, advocacy, and support for diabetes research. Through the foundation, he established the only basketball camp in the country for children with diabetes, which celebrated its eleventh year this summer (www.chrisdudley.org). Chris has been a role model on and off the court. He has been recognized by many awards including, the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1996, the USA Today's Most Caring Athlete Award in 1997, the Non-Partisan U.S. Freedom Award for Community Service, personally presented by President Bush in 2003. Chris is an outspoken advocate for encouraging and empowering kids with diabetes. In 2005 and 2006, Chris was invited to address the U.S. Senate committees on the topics of diabetes funding and research.
About Roche and the Roche Diagnostics Division
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation, and a market leader in virology. In 2005, sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totaled 27.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.2 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 70,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Roche's Diagnostics Division offers a uniquely broad product portfolio and supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories worldwide. The Roche Diagnostics North American headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Ind. (www.roche-diagnostics.us). For further information, please visit our Web sites www.accu-chek.com, www.roche.us and www.roche-diagnostics.com.
For further information please contact:Lori LeRoy
ACCU-CHEK is a trademark of Roche.
Last Updated: Friday November 17, 2006 10:43:53
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