Cedric the Entertainer addresses diabetes, prevention in Philadelphia
Cedric the Entertainer came to Northwest Philadelphia to discuss diabetes and its prevention recently as part of the “Step on Up” national tour to bring attention to the disease that affects many juveniles and older adults.
Cedric spoke before a standing-room-only crowd at the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Achievement Center.
The energy was high because there was an international celebrity coming to a local neighborhood and because Cedric the Entertainer had a lifesaving message. The Kappa local Polemarch Bobby Hunter said that the presence of the celebrity was a win-win event for two reasons.
“Brother Cedric is taking time to talk to us about health,” Hunter said. “This is part of the health and wellness that we do. We’ve had others come to us to talk about health. The other thing about having Cedric here is that we are opening up [our facility] more to the public. We want the Germantown community to be healthier. We want to do more outreach to the community.”
Though there was much fanfare when Cedric came into the building to take a respite in a conference room, the high energy was when he entered the auditorium upstairs. There he was joined by Dr. Freda Lewis Hall, the chief medical officer of Pfizer. She said that it was important to get information about the early signs of diabetes to local communities, particularly where there are large numbers of African Americans.
“We know that diabetes strikes 29 million and that 18 million are undiagnosed,” Hall said. “When many go to the doctor, they don’t report the sensations in their hands in feet. There are one in five people with diabetes, but there are different sensations from throbbing, a feeling of electric shocks and sensitivity to numbness.”
She added that many who are eventually diagnosed will have nerve damage. That is why there is a strong effort to keep many from “suffering in silence” as far as the symptoms.
In his remarks Cedric said that his own father had strange sensations in his feet. He was also overly tired. He did not realize that he was in the early phase of having diabetes.
“It is customary in our community to say that no news is good news,” he said.
Cedric then pointed to a broadcast public service announcement that will be done targeting black viewers about the warning signs of diabetes. So, he said, he was using his celebrity to get particularly African-American men to listen to the message that they needed to have their blood sugar levels checked. He stressed that even if it is normal, they should ask if it is borderline so they can begin making lifestyle and dietary changes before it becomes full-fledged.