In the summer of 2007, DeAndre Carter was a soon-to-be high schooler who possessed the kind of exciting talent that raised eyebrows of the Washington High School coaching staff. On the precipice of starting his freshman year, though, he looked and felt like anything but a potential star athlete. He was sleeping up to 18 hours a day and losing dozens of pounds of weight.
After an ill-feeling Carter was sent home from practice one day that August, he started incessantly throwing up. It was clear there was something wrong and his dad took him to the hospital. After running some tests, doctors told Carter that he had Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune that leads the pancreas to stop producing insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood-sugar levels.
For the last 14 years, that diagnosis has been a mere blip in the journey of Carter pursuing his football dreams. Through paying attention to his diet, keeping tabs on his blood sugar with a monitor and insulin injections, he has managed his diabetes in a way that it doesn't interfere with his life. For him, it's just a little extra thing to stay on top of to be at his best.
The idea that diabetes doesn't need to be a barrier to living a full life is a key message Carter hopes to get out to the public.
"I'm trying to spread awareness for kids around the world dealing with this, letting them know that this disease is not a death sentence," Carter said. "You can still do and be whoever it is you want to be and accomplish all the dreams you want to accomplish as long as you manage it well."
Carter will be supporting this cause that is near and dear to his heart in a special way this weekend. As part of this year's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign, he will be wearing customized cleats in honor of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The world's largest nonprofit funder of Type 1 diabetes research, JDRF does a wide range of work to improve the lives of those affected by TD1, including advocating for government action, developing new treatments, spreading awareness, and providing an in-depth support structure for the TD1 community.
Carter's cleats, which can be seen below, will be available for auction. You can bid on them HERE. All proceeds procured from the auction will be donated to the JDRF.