Della Reese: “My Life Is At Stake”
Singer and long-time actress Della Reese began singing in church in her hometown of Detroit when she was six years old. Her vocal ability quickly attracted the attention of gospel great Mahalia Jackson, who hired Della as a back-up singer. This early introduction to the world of gospel entertainment set the stage for Della’s own music legacy that has now spanned five decades and includes multiple Grammy Award nominations.
But when she was born, her doctors never thought she would make it this far.
“My mother was a personal friend of God’s. I lived on her faith. I was trained on her faith. For example, I was born in 1931, in the middle of a depression. Two years later I had rheumatic fever and they told my mother I was going to die—I was not a well child. My mother just stood on her faith and trusted in God and kept saying, “My baby’s going to live.” I’m now 86, so what so what she was doing must have been right.
But now, Reese’s health has taken a turn for the worse. Back in 2003, Reese told USA Today that it was her hope to maintain control of her diabetes so that she could continue to live well.
“My life is at stake,” she reportedly said in 2016 at a Hollywood Walk of Fame event. “I don’t have type 2 diabetes — type 2 diabetes has me.” Reese stepped out to celebrate Touched by an Angel cast member Roma Downey getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When she appeared, the actress looked much different than she did just two years prior. She was in a wheelchair and seemed to have dropped quite a bit of weight.
“When I found out I had Type 2 diabetes, I was upset because I knew nothing about the condition and had nothing to fight it with. So I sought out as much information and support as I could,” the entertainer explained. “I talked to my doctor about an aggressive diabetes management plan that includes eating right and staying active. In my case,…