Ray Allen: “How Diabetes Almost Killed My Son”

rayallenWinning an NBA championship is on the mind of literally every player once they enter the league–and some even have dreams of it growing up. So it was no different with NBA All Star Ray Allen.

Allen’s pregame routine and ritual are the most precise and detailed in the league. Allen is nearly OCD about his routine — he doesn’t like it changed. He wants that structure in his life.

But when his son, Walker, just 17 months old, became sick–very sick–during the NBA Finals Ray was playing in, Ray’s wife Shannon had to step in. Shannon took him to a hospital in Los Angeles for a blood test. Typically, a person’s blood sugar level is between 70 and 120. Walkers was 639. The doctor told Shannon that Walker’s blood sugar was literally poisoning him to death.

“It was like the rug was pulled out from under us,” Shannon said. The doctor said that if Walker didn’t get insulin soon, he would die.
Fortunately Walker got that insulin. And three days later was well enough to celebrate the NBA Championship with his father.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen him (Ray) terrified,” Shannon said. She said that Ray was grateful it was something that could be treated.

Shannon has worked hard to educate herself and those around her about diabetes. It’s come at a cost – especially to her sleep schedule. They have three other boys and a daughter at college, but still Shannon gets up every two hours every single night to make sure that Walker’s blood sugar level is where it needs to be and that he’s okay. She also stays with him at school to administer his insulin shots. He gets between five to seven a day.

ray2She also carefully watches what Walker, and the rest of the family, eats.
“We’re so diligent about everything we put in our mouths,” she said.

Shannon said she is glad Ray’s job in the spotlight allows her to shine light onto diabetes.
“Parents have to know we almost lost our child. And that 40 percent of the time parents bury their baby because of a simple blood test.”

Allen knows this is one place his celebrity and status can help his child and others like him — Allen and his wife…