Comedian Gets Serious About fighting Disease
By Anna Bowman
April 5, 2005 (Morning News) - "Watchoutdehnow. This catch phrase, made famous by comedian J. Anthony Brown, co-host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, is heard each weekday by 8 million listeners on urban radio stations in 100 markets, and locally on Magic 94.3 FM, a Cumulus Broadcasting station.
Brown, a Columbia native, is known for his wisecracking jokes, church announcements, musical parodies (Murdering the Hits) and his seemingly endless supply of high energy.
But in 1998 his world changed forever when he began to experience tingling sensations in his fingers, and after numerous examinations and various tests, he was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.
Things started going on with my body that caused me to seek medical attention and one of the tests the doctor gave me was for diabetes, he said in a recent telephone interview. Diabetes is a very, very scary disease. Its a disease that affects so many parts of the body. You have to really get your rest and take your medication,.
With his grueling schedule as radio host, stand-up comedian, actor, artist, fashion designer and philanthropist, Brown fully understands the need for taking proper care of oneself to avoid the major complications that are attributed to the disease: heart disease, kidney failure, strokes, nerve damage, amputations and even death. The latter he knows about all too well, having lost both parents to complications associated with the disease.
The emotional pain of that loss coupled with his own diagnosis gave Brown courage to take an active role in the fight to find a cure. In 2003, he established the J. Anthony Brown Foundation, a nonprofit organization offering services to help improve the quality of life for African-Americans and others in South Carolina who are living with diabetes, and are uninsured or underinsured.
The mission of the organization is to provide health screenings, diabetes self-management education, information and referral, and medical assistance.
Theres no cure, but were much better at controlling the disease now, and with proper care, rest and resources a diabetic can live a nearly normal life, Brown said. Im living proof.
Despite limited resources, last year the foundation sponsored a health fair, provided information and referral services to over 100 callers and provided sponsorships for children with diabetes to Camp Adam Fisher, a weeklong camp where children ages 6 to 16 learn to manage their condition while participating in a variety of fun activities.
The joy of knowing that young children with diabetes are learning to properly care for themselves is the driving force behind the upcoming J. Anthony Brown Foundation Diabetes Celebrity Golf Tournament.
The tournament, which will feature celebrity guests including Willie Scott, George Rogers, Keith Williams, Xavier McDaniels and Duce Staley, is slated for Friday, at Fort Jackson.
The event, which also includes diabetes screenings, will raise funds to send children with the disease to the Camp Adam Fisher, according to Takenya Atkins, executive director of the foundation.
The diabetes camp is led by a team of medical professionals and counselors who help educate the children about the diabetes and how to properly manage the disease in order to lead full productive lives.
Brown, who has been inspired by the popular book The Purpose Driven Life, has taken yet another step toward raising diabetes awareness by joining the cast of new television show, dLife - For Your Diabetes Life. The program, which airs Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. on CNBC, is co-hosted by four individuals, all of whom live with the disease.
The show is information-driven and the basic core of the program is to show other diabetics that you can lead a normal life, Brown said. They wanted the show to be fun and enlightening and showcase real-life diabetics as host. I was more than happy to become a part of the show.
Still, the work of the foundation will always be his first priority.
I have plans for several upcoming events including my annual Sugarless Ball, to raise funds to continue to provide services statewide in South Carolina, he said.
Individuals interested in learning more about his foundation and the upcoming golf tournament can contact the foundation at (800) 559-JABF or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2005 Morning News Online
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