Gladys Knight at 75: “Know More, Do More”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Gladys Knight attends 5th Annual Dance Theater Of Harlem Vision Gala at New York City Center on April 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Adela Loconte/WireImage)

(Photo by Adela Loconte/WireImage)

Even though her birthday is technically in May, Gladys Knight celebrated her landmark 75th birthday in October with a special party in Los Angeles.

The seven-time Grammy winner was joined at Vibrato Grill Jazz by celebrity pals including David Foster and his new wife Katherine McPhee, LaToya Jackson and Terry Crews.

Knight, who was accompanied by her husband William McDowell, was all smiles as celebrities talked and shared about how much they adored the singer.

(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)

Even though Gladys doesn’t have diabetes, she fights for others who have it because it took the life of her mother, Elizabeth Knight, who died of complications from the disease in 1997. Knight is as busy as ever gracing the entertainment world with her exceptional voice, yet she never misses an opportunity to voice the message of early detection and treatment of diabetes.

Like nearly 5.5 million other adults in the U.S., Elizabeth had diabetic retinopathy, a sight-threatening complication of diabetes that can cause blindness. “I remember my mother being at one of my performances. She came backstage and shed a tear saying, ‘Gladys, I can’t see you anymore on stage, baby’,” said Knight. Elizabeth eventually became legally blind in both eyes due to the disease, as do approximately 25,000 Americans every year.

According to Prevent Blindness Ohio, the longer one has diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

“My mom went to the eye doctor every year and was on top of her health as far as nutrition and exercise,” said Knight. Prevent Blindness Ohio recommends an annual dilated eye exam for people with diabetes. While diabetic retinopathy is not always avoidable, management of the disease and treatment options can help reduce the risk of sight loss. Like many others with diabetic retinopathy, Elizabeth had laser treatment called…

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