Lauren Cox was 7 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). She was 12 when she finally beat her father in a game of one-on-one in the family driveway.
The JDRF Ambassador and spokesperson said both moments shaped who she is and who she has become.
This weekend, she became the #3 pick in the first-round draft of the WNBA, selected to play for the Indiana Fever.
“To anyone watching the draft tonight, who sees some similarities between my story and their own: Know that I see you, back. And you’ve got this. We’ve got this,” Lauren wrote in an open letter that she shared the night of the draft.
Lauren said she refused to use her T1D as an excuse or as a reason for sympathy. Instead, she turned it into her own personal source of focus, strength, drive and determination.
“At seven years old, more or less overnight, I went from being this little kid without a care in the world to being a person with real responsibilities. And they weren’t the type of responsibilities that I could opt out of. You take a day off from treatment….. that’s not five minutes in the timeout corner or a stern talking-to or whatever. It’s life and death. You don’t have a choice — you have to do it. You have to show up.”
The Texas native played for Baylor University as a star forward, averaging 12.5 points a game her senior year.
She also has been an active JDRF supporter, helping educate others about T1D, raising funds for T1D research and serving as a role model for children with the disease.
This summer, she served as a Celebrity Spokesperson at JDRF’s Children’s Congress 2019 in Washington, DC. She urged the more than 160 youth delegates to take care of their bodies and to establish a support network so that others could help when needed. Sometimes it may seem easier to try and hide the fact that you have T1D, she said. But it’s part of who you are, and you need to realize that sometimes you may need help, so let others know.
Her willingness to use her story to help others won her, and her younger sister, Whitney, this year’s Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, presented annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Whitney, who is a freshman forward at Lubbock Christian, was diagnosed with T1D when she was 17.
This fall, the sisters played against each other in Baylor’s annual Type-1 Diabetes Awareness Game, a JDRF fundraiser.
“I think it’s been my refusal to give in to the temptation of excuse-making that’s really given me an edge,” Lauren wrote.
Lauren has captured the hearts and attention of many both on and off the court. We congratulate her success and thank her for her support of JDRF and the T1D community.
More about Lauren:
Her full letter: For Anyone Who’s Been Through It.
Los Angeles Times article: Baylor star Lauren Cox hasn’t let diabetes stop her WNBA dreams
WNBA.com story: 2020 WNBA Draft Prospects: Five Things To Know About Lauren Cox
Video: Lauren Cox Selected No. 3 Overall By The Indiana Fever