When you ask Jessica where “home” is, she pictures the Indian reservation in upstate New York where her parents are from. Jessica’s family is part of the Haudenosaunee—the people of the longhouses—where entire family units live together in one house with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and siblings. Close family ties define her community.
At nearly 16 percent, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of diabetes among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Jessica knew she had a strong family history of type 2 diabetes, but didn’t think it would affect her until she was much older.
Jessica was only in her 30s when her family’s history of diabetes became her own reality. Now she is determined to take control of her disease so she can watch her seven nieces and nephews grow up.
This is her story.
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Originally posted here on the American Diabetes Association blog.