Olympian Laurie Hernandez, Her Dad, and Diabetes – Diabetes Daily


Laurie Hernandez is an elite athlete. To maintain up her Olympics-quality type, she must take her way of life choices, like weight loss plan and train, very critically.

Anthony Hernandez is equally conscious. He’s not an elite athlete – he’s Laurie’s dad. He takes care of his well being as a result of he has sort 2 diabetes.

“I’ve all the time watched him maintain himself. It was simply one thing he did as a result of he needed to do it. For me and gymnastics, going to bodily remedy, and doing preventative bodywork, and consuming the correct issues … all of these are key issues that I’ve watched him do.”

Laurie, a gymnast, gained each particular person silver and workforce gold within the 2016 Summer season Olympics in Rio. 

I spoke to Laurie solely days after she had sustained an unfortunate injury that put her Olympic return doubtful. A hyperextended knee compelled Laurie to withdraw from the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, a vital competitors that helps decide which athletes could make the workforce for the upcoming Tokyo video games. Within the days after our discuss, Laurie decided not to petition for a spot on the Tokyo workforce – probably ending her profession as a aggressive gymnast.

We talked about gymnastics and the Olympics, however we principally talked about her dad. Anthony’s had diabetes for so long as Laurie can keep in mind, however he by no means made an enormous deal about it.

“He needed issues to seem as regular as attainable, so it wasn’t an enormous matter. It was simply one thing that he did. He would prick his finger, and he would take his medicine.”

Laurie’s grandmother additionally had diabetes – little Laurie would watch her take insulin photographs. As her grandmother acquired older and extra unsteady, Laurie would assist her together with her injections. Everybody helped out like that.

“I didn’t see it like an odd factor. ‘Oh, listed here are two individuals caring for themselves. That’s my household!’”

I used to be struck by the distinction, however similarity, between Laurie and her dad. They’re in very totally different phases of life, however every is equally motivated to take their well being critically, and every conjures up good choices within the different. Rising up in a family the place diabetes was an on a regular basis truth of life gave Laurie early fashions of self-care.

“I had that illustration of any individual caring for themselves.

“This gymnastics coaching is loopy, however let me present you the way I discovered all of the in-betweens, how I discovered to maintain myself. A giant a part of that comes from my dad. Watching him do this and set that instance for me and my siblings.”

Anthony nonetheless manages his diabetes in a refined means, and isn’t one to attract a lot consideration to himself. However over time, he’s gotten extra in tune along with his physique and addressed his situation in a bit of bit extra depth.

He’s additionally been extra open about how his youngsters helped encourage him to enhance his management. He didn’t need his illness to power him to overlook out on their lives, particularly Laurie’s superlative athletic profession.

“He would say, ‘I wanna be there for these issues.’”

I spoke to Laurie as a result of she’s the most recent spokesperson for Trulicity, a GLP-1 agonist authorised for sort 2 diabetes. Trulicity is a once-weekly injection that research have proven can confer each improved glucose management and weight reduction. It additionally could assist scale back the probability of main cardiovascular occasions.

Laurie instructed me that representing a diabetes medicine “resonated” together with her.

“I get to speak about my dad and present all of the exhausting work that he’s performed in quiet. It’s life, it’s one thing that he takes care of each single day. He doesn’t actually have a alternative! So to provide him grace and kudos for that, I do assume it’s vital.”

If anybody’s curious why Laurie, who doesn’t have diabetes, determined to characterize Trulicity, she has a easy reply: “It’s my dad. That’s my household, that’s my core, he’s an enormous a part of who I’m.

“I’m so happy with him. He talks about how proud he’s of me, on a regular basis, however now I’ve a possibility to inform everybody how proud I’m of him.”

Diabetes care generally is a workforce effort for the Hernandezes.

“My mother would all the time carry snacks together with her, you already know, simply in case he ever acquired low. It didn’t click on for me, up till the previous few years, that she was doing that to maintain him. I believed, you already know, that’s simply mother being mother, nevertheless it was all the time for him. It was a method to maintain an eye fixed out.”

Even when she’s on the opposite coast, she makes an effort to maintain up together with her dad as a lot as attainable:

“I ensure to verify in and see that he’s doing okay. Simply give him an encouraging phrase or name. Me and my siblings, we have now an enormous household group chat, and we’ll let him know that we’re so happy with him. If he does have an off day, not reprimanding him for it, however letting him know, hey, all people’s acquired an off day. A lot of love and assist.”

In a exceptional coincidence, Laurie’s roommate Charlotte Drury, additionally an Olympic hopeful, was lately recognized with Kind 1 diabetes. Acting at an elite athletic degree whereas coping with newly recognized sort 1 diabetes can’t be straightforward, however Laurie experiences that Charlotte “is kicking main butt.” She actually lucked out in having Laurie as a roommate. Laurie has accompanied her to the physician’s workplace, and is completely satisfied to run and seize a juice field when Charlotte’s blood sugar goes low.

It’s been a wierd yr for Laurie, because it has for everybody, however the pandemic did carry some advantages. Laurie normally trains in California, far-off from her hometown in New Jersey, however after her gymnasium closed down she switched for about six months.

“I acquired to spend so much of time with my household, acquired to look at my nephew develop, which was superior. There was a number of household time that I mustn’t have gotten however did, in order that was an enormous silver lining.”

What recommendation does the excessive achiever and devoted daughter have for different individuals with diabetes?

“The largest factor is simply to do your finest, to not let it cease you from doing belongings you actually need to do. From watching my dad be dad and do his finest to point out up for all my totally different meets, diabetes didn’t get in the best way of that. I’m positive it was a problem for him, however he consistently confirmed up.”

“I’m actually happy with all of you. You’re sturdy as a result of you must be, however you’re sturdy.”


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