Olympian Laurie Hernandez, Her Dad, and Diabetes

Laurie Hernandez is an elite athlete. To sustain her Olympics-quality type, she must take her life-style choices, like weight loss plan and train, very severely.

Anthony Hernandez is equally aware. 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 always watched him take care of himself. It was just something he did because he had to do it. For me and gymnastics, going to physical therapy, and doing preventative bodywork, and eating the right things … all of those are key things that I’ve watched him do.”

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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Laurie, a gymnast, received each particular person silver and crew gold within the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. 

I spoke to Laurie solely days after she had sustained an unlucky harm that put her Olympic return doubtful. A hyperextended knee compelled Laurie to withdraw from the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, a crucial competitors that helps decide which athletes could make the crew for the upcoming Tokyo video games. In the times after our speak, Laurie determined to not petition for a spot on the Tokyo crew – doubtlessly ending her profession as a aggressive gymnast.

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

“He wanted things to appear as normal as possible, so it wasn’t a big topic. It was just something that he did. He would prick his finger, and he would take his medication.”

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

“I didn’t see it like an odd thing. ‘Oh, here are two people taking care of themselves. That’s my family!’”

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

“I had that illustration of any person 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 deal with myself. An enormous a part of that comes from my dad. Watching him try this and set that instance for me and my siblings.”

Anthony nonetheless manages his diabetes in a delicate method, and isn’t one to attract a lot consideration to himself. But through the years, he’s gotten extra in tune together with his physique and addressed his situation in a bit bit extra depth.

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

“He would say, ‘I wanna be there for those things.’”

svg%3E - Olympian Laurie Hernandez, Her Dad, and Diabetes

I spoke to Laurie as a result of she’s the most recent spokesperson for Trulicity, a GLP-1 agonist permitted 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 cut back the probability of main cardiovascular occasions.

Laurie informed me that representing a diabetes medicine “resonated” along with her.

“I get to talk about my dad and show all the hard work that he’s done in quiet. It’s life, it’s something that he takes care of every single day. He doesn’t really have a choice! So to give him grace and kudos for that, I do think it’s important.”

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

“I’m so pleased 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 is usually a crew effort for the Hernandezes.

“My mom would always carry snacks with her, you know, just in case he ever got low. It didn’t click for me, up until the last few years, that she was doing that to take care of him. I thought, you know, that’s just mom being mom, but it was always for him. It was a way to keep an eye out.”

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

“I make sure to check in and see that he’s doing ok. Just give him an encouraging word or call. Me and my siblings, we have a big family group chat, and we’ll let him know that we’re so proud of him. If he does have an off day, not reprimanding him for it, but letting him know, hey, everybody’s got an off day. Lots of love and support.”

In a outstanding coincidence, Laurie’s roommate Charlotte Drury, additionally an Olympic hopeful, was not too long ago identified with Type 1 diabetes. Performing at an elite athletic degree whereas coping with newly identified sort 1 diabetes can’t be simple, however Laurie reviews that Charlotte “is kicking major butt.” She actually lucked out in having Laurie as a roommate. Laurie has accompanied her to the physician’s workplace, and is completely happy to run and seize a juice field when Charlotte’s blood sugar goes low.

It’s been an odd 12 months for Laurie, because it has for everybody, however the pandemic did deliver some advantages. Laurie often trains in California, distant from her hometown in New Jersey, however after her gymnasium closed down she switched for about six months.

“I got to spend a lot of time with my family, got to watch my nephew grow, which was awesome. There was a lot of family time that I should not have gotten but did, so that was a huge silver lining.”

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

“The biggest thing is just to do your best, to not let it stop you from doing things you really want to do. From watching my dad be a good dad and do his best to show up for all my different meets, diabetes did not get in the way of that. I’m sure it was a challenge for him, but he constantly showed up.”

“I’m really proud of all of you. You’re strong because you have to be, but you are strong.”


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