Vince Wilfork talks about his diabetes initiative and the support for it

Patriots DT Vince Wilfork held a press conference today to discuss his partnership with Joslin Diabetes Center and the “Tackling Diabetes” initiative. Fans can donate $7.50, $75 and $750 for Wilfork’s exploits this year to benefit the Vince Wilfork Foundation and Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund. The program kicked off during the Chargers game.

And yes, Wilfork is giving his own money, too.

“This is going to be one of the times that I’m going to ask for help,” Wilfork said. “I’m doing it, my wife is doing it, I have friends doing it, my brother is doing it – it’s a lot of people. We’re involved also. It’s not that I’m just asking everybody else for money; I’m actually putting money up myself. There’s where we’re at with this. Once again, like I said I want to thank EMD Millipore and Joslin for getting me on the team and hopefully we can be successful with this and hopefully I can report back to you guys how well we’re doing with it. It’s going to be something fun. It makes me more excited now to go out and make tackles for a cause. That just adds one more element to my game that makes me play even harder now. That’s where we’re at with that.”

"Some of you guys may know –- you might not know -– my relationship with diabetes comes from my household, growing up in a household with my father being ill for 13, 14, 15 years," said Wilfork. "As a kid, I’m 9- and 10-years[-old] at the time, seeing my father going through what he had to go through. I had to give him shots at times, he was so weak. I had to bathe him, had to take him to the restroom. There was a lot going on that my brother and I had to deal with. That’s why this is really close and dear to my heart. I know how it can affect a household firsthand because I was one of those people that had to deal with it.

"Luckily, God blessed me where I could be a healthy young man and blessed my family to be healthy, but not everybody is able. That’s why it’s very, very close and dear to my heart to actually come and bring more awareness to raise money to try to find and try to fight and tackle this disease, because it affects us more than we think. I know a lot of people probably have friends and family members that are cancer patients, they’re beating [it] -– I put it right up there with cancer. Every year I throw my draft day fundraiser to raise money for diabetes. There’s not one year that comes and goes that I don’t get new people either showing up to my doorstep or showing up to the fundraiser just telling me stories about how they are affected by this disease. Through the years, we’ve raised a lot of good money. Last year, I think we raised over $100,000, so it’s growing. One thing I want to do is to get my fans and my team involved with this. Everybody knows playing football is not just one individual, so I think that’s where the fans and friends can play a huge part in this."

Wilfork is pretty confident he’ll get some love for a cause so dear to his heart.

“Like I said, with the fans and the support that we have around here, I don’t think I’ll have any problem getting some support from everyone,” Wilfork said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy. I believe it’s going to be a fun year, it’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be cool, something new to change up and [we’ll] see how well it does.”

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