Rev. Run is celebrating his 52nd birthday today and has a lot to be thankful for: a new grandchild, a thriving career and a 20-plus year marriage to wife Justine that’s still going strong.
But one thing the hip-hop legend is especially thankful for is being diabetes-free. After watching his father battle the disease, Run knew his risk factors were high, so he got screened.
Now, the reverend and Justine are encouraging others to do the same, teaming up with the Ask.Screen.Know program, which provides an online test for people to check their own risk factors.
“It [the campaign] got me focused on health,” Run told theGrio.com in a recent live conversation on Facebook. “It got me walking more, changing from fried foods over to baking things. Just little changes to keep anything that could be coming at me at bay.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African-Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as white Americans. The statistic rings true for Run’s wife, Justine Simmons.
“It’s horrible because recently we had a family reunion. I was just shocked,” she said. “Everybody had diabetes.”
Despite their family history, Rev. Run and Justine are still striving to live their best lives. The two host a show on the Travel Channel (“Rev Runs Around the World”), where they visit places like Jamaica and Dubai with their two youngest children, all while hosting another show on the Cooking Channel (“Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers”), where they whip up recipes like baked Buffalo chicken wings.
Both Rev. Run and Justine say that changing lifestyle habits is hard but worth it. To anyone who is afraid of getting screened for diabetes, Rev. Run offers this bit of wisdom:
“Do it for your family. Many people don’t want to do things for themself, like ‘I’m fine if it all goes wrong.’ But you start saying, ‘What’s going to happen to them if I don’t start taking care of myself?'”
“It’ll push you to a place of peace knowing. It can be managed. You can still live a very healthy life.”
Check out the full Facebook live interview with Rev. Run and Justine below and hit us up in the comments if you have a story of overcoming diabetes.