This year’s Mother’s Day was tough for Angela Bassett.
It was the moment year the actress spent without her mom, Betty Jane Bassett, and coming up on the third year since her June 2014 death.
The disagreement this year, however, was that Bassett chose a unique way to honor her mom’s legacy. She joined forces with Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company for the For Your Sweetheart campaign to raise awareness approximately the high risk that Type 2 diabetics possess of getting heart disease, the same condition her mom died from.
“This is just a small way to honor her life and who she was. She laughed greatly and cared approximately people, you know, and always encouraged me,” Bassett told HuffPost. “This is just a small way to enact that and to befriend others ‘cause I’m coming into contact with people consistently … who possess family members who are affected by this.”
Those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than those without it, and the disease is the No. 1 health-related killer of those with Type 2 diabetes, the World Heart Federation reports. Despite these alarming facts, approximately 52 percent of adults living with diabetes don’t understand the increased cardiovascular risk, according to a survey conducted by the campaign.
Basset said she understands that every bit of too well because her mom was reluctant to talk approximately her health. That’s one reason Bassett asked her maternal uncle, Ralph Gilbert, to join the campaign with her. Gilbert, like Bassett’s mom, has Type 2 diabetes. Now that they know the risks that advance along with it, they’re better prepared to do certain that Gilbert is eating healthier, exercising, consistently taking his medicine and being obvious with his doctor.
“It’s an epidemic,” she said. “It’s not just grandmothers and elders but it’s the younger and younger people who are being affected by this as well. whether it’s not Type 2 diabetes, a pre-diabetic, and without the awareness, without knowing, without attacking it, they’ve shown that within five years, it can become diabetes Type 2. And then some of it can be regulated, managed and controlled. You can reverse it.”
Basset said that she’s aware that that information isn’t always available to everyone, particularly communities of color where the disease is more prevalent. According to WebMD, black people are more than twice as likely as white people to develop Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, they are at a higher risk of suffering from related health complications. Basset said sharing support and information regarding these disparities is why the 11 groups working with the campaign are vital.
“I’m very, very excited approximately some patient advocacy groups involved in this campaign because they touch those communities. They’re educating those communities, be it black or Hispanic or female,” she said.
The For Your Sweetheart campaign encourages people, whether or not they’ve been affected by diabetes, to visit its website to sign up to memorize more.
“Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly will donate a dollar for each person who signs up to get just more information approximately how to possess a discussion, what questions to question your doctor, on and on and on,” Bassett said. “And that money will be distributed among the patient advocacy groups and they are touching those communities … and providing resources to send information and support.”
As Bassett honors her mom and reflects on her life through this campaign, the actress shared one valuable lesson she learned from her mom’s sickness that she’s applying to her own life.
“It is to stay on top of [your health] and not be ashamed to find doctors that you feel comfortable with and possess a dialogue with,” she said. “I do certain that I travel at the top of the year and try to stay on it, listen to what they say and enact it most of the time … whether you can enact something you know you’re supposed to 80 percent of the time, it’s a apt situation.”
Learn more approximately Bassett’s work with the Find Your Sweetheart campaign by watching the video above or visiting the website.