The P-Word: Actor Austin Basis speaks on creating type 1 diabetes awareness

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In South Africa, diabetes affects around one in ten adults which is the highest prevalence in Africa, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

On the P-Word podcast this week, host Rushka Lee Pedro speaks to American Actor Austin Basis who shares how he lives with type 1 diabetes and how he is creating diabetes awareness.

Born in Brooklyn NYC and currently living in Los Angeles, Basis was diagnosed two weeks before his ninth birthday in 1985.

“When I first got diabetes, I had to be in the hospital for a week. My dad owned the candy store, which is one of those small lessons of life that you may have the opportunity to eat all the candy in the world, but then you also may get diagnosed with diabetes and have to have a little self control,” he said.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose (sugar) level is too high because your body can’t make a hormone called insulin.

“Type 1 diabetes is genetically predisposed, meaning that when I was born, I had the genetic makeup to be diagnosed with diabetes. Type 1 is insulin dependent,” he said.

While he was diagnosed at a young age and had to take on a big responsibility to look after his health, Basis said his parents and family were supportive.

“Credit to my parents for their ability to maintain the normalcy of my childhood. I was playing sports, literally going to dances, school, being in school plays that type of thing. There was nothing that was like, alright, we can’t do this anymore,” he said.

From a young age, he had an ambition of becoming an actor. He has now acted alongside some of the greats such as Al Pacino and Viola Davis in ‘How to get away with Murder’.

He starred as Professor JT Forbes in the famous CW series called Beauty and The Beast series alongside Jay Ryan and Kristin Kreuk.

Basis is well known for his activism to create awareness for diabetes. He is also a Celebrity Ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in the USA.

“Throughout the time I’ve had diabetes I have become more active in the community and learnt more about the technologies that all come out of research out of years of development and studies and clinical trials and human trials,” he said.

Written by: Kelly-Jane Turner

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