USA Today reports that acclaimed Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo died Thursday, Dec. 2, from bladder cancer. Apart from his accomplishments on the field, Santo also gained fame for his lifelong fight with diabetes. Santos was first diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 18, and had many chronic health complications from it. Although Santos received five Gold Gloves during his baseball career, his best accomplishments came from raising awareness about diabetes after years of keeping it secret. Santo will be remembered as one of the first athletes to speak about diabetes, and will live on as a hero.
Santo is not the only other famous person to fight diabetes throughout his career in the spotlight. Good Housekeeping reported that popular music star Nike Jonas suffers from type 1 diabetes and has to maintain healthy habits.
Jonas is a hit music sensation in popular culture and is part of the boy band the Jonas Brothers. Jonas realized he had type 1 diabetes in 2005, but exhibited all of the classic symptoms — such as excessive thirst and urination — for years prior to the diagnosis. Jonas decided to use his fame to also help spread the word about diabetes and the related complications that could occur if you do not check your glucose levels regularly.
Jonas is a musical superstar who wants to prove to everyone that being diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes does not mean you have to give up on your dreams. Whether you like Jonas or not, you have to give him credit for using his fame to promote awareness of an illness like diabetes. Jonas was a teenager when he was diagnosed with diabetes, which helps other people around his age become aware they could also become affected. Jonas has proved that you can be anything you want to, and having a condition like diabetes does not have to slow you down, but that taking care of yourself is important. Someone like Jonas has a lot of power in the entertainment business and, since diabetes can be diagnosed as a teenager, he helps spread the word to other teenagers that anyone can get diabetes.
Based on the way Jonas chose to bring public awareness to diabetes, remembrances of Santo’s health struggles in life will also bring further awareness to diabetes. Santo will live on as one of the few baseball players of the 1960s to ever bring awareness to a condition like diabetes. For years he kept the condition hidden from his friends and family, but then realized that he could help others by making it known to the public. With the obesity epidemic growing, people need to be more health-conscious because diabetes and obesity are often seen together. Santo’s health struggles will help bring further awareness of diabetes because he had a chronic battle with the disease and the complications because of it. I think that Santo will live on as a pioneer of how to turn your fame into public awareness for diseases and health struggles. Santo is truly a hero for coming out and speaking about his struggles with diabetes, and he is an inspiration to many people who also suffer from it or other medical conditions.
Tom Weir, “Ron Santo’s battle with diabetes, in his own words”, USA Today
Laura Hahn, “The Jonas Family Talks Diabetes”, Good Housekeeping