“He was my best friend and taught me everything I know,” Wilfork said of his father. “I didn’t have anyone to come explain to me about diabetes.”
He and Shaheen want to change that.
By the year 2050, about one in every three Americans will have diabetes, she told the students.
“Diabetes is also very expensive,” she said. “We also have to address the costs along with prevention.”
Both stressed the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits.
“I’m lucky. I run around a lot. But we all have a job to do, that job is to take care of yourselves,” Wilfork said. “Help your friends; let them know what they need to do to make changes.”
Some students, including the Goodwin twins, had specific questions about the disease.
Wilfork encouraged the twins to live every day and never live in fear of the disease. Hearing advice from a sports hero helped, the boys said later.
“I am now really inspired to take good care of myself,” Brad said.
Ryan credited his twin brother for giving him support.
“I’m doing excellent because I have him,” he said.
Wilfork urged the assembled students to be strong, active and focus on staying healthy. He made a final sweep of the gym, giving high-fives to some young fans.
Derry School Board Chairman Brenda Willis credited Wilfork for his kindness and commitment.
“He gave a great message to our students,” Willis said.
For the famed Patriot, it’s all about spreading the word about being healthy.
“That’s why I’m here today,” he said. “Just remember, we can all do something about it. The more we can educate people about diabetes, we make it better for our younger generation. I just regret not having my dad with me to see where I’m at now.”