Exclusive: Mark Andrews on not letting diabetes stop him from living his dreams

Jordan Giorgio

The thing that Mark Andrews remembers about being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of nine was seeing his parents cry.

He couldn't comprehend that the diagnosis – which affects 1.25 million people in America – would change his life forever.

 "I remember the moment extremely clear," he said. "Being nine years old you don't quite understand the significance of that, but this was the first time I saw my dad cry and my mom cry as well. But I knew in that moment something serious was definitely happening to me and something was going to change in my life."

Andrews continues to battle the daily struggles and complications that come with having diabetes but not once has he allowed it to stop him from reaching his goals and dream of playing in the NFL. It was a dream that came true in 2018 when the Baltimore Ravens drafted the tight end in the third round.

"The big thing for me is to not let this disease get in the way of doing what I love and not letting it affect my teammates, family and all the other people that care for me," he said. "Taking care of my diabetes is a big part."

 Andrews not only accomplished his dream of playing in the NFL, but he's also succeeding. As one of Lamar Jackson's favorite targets, Andrews leads the team in receiving yards (523), receptions (44) and targets (66) while tallying 5 TD's and this season is far from over. He does this while overcoming all the obstacles that diabetes throws his way.

"In high school, I dealt with pricking my fingers and that was super tough to do," he said. "It wasn't until college my freshman year, I had an incident where something serious had happened and I realized that something needed to change in my life and that's when I found Dexcom."

With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, Andrews is partnering with Dexcom, a continuous glucose monitoring system, to raise awareness about diabetes especially in America's youth. Andrews wants to encourage every young person with diabetes and hopes of playing in the NFL that it is possible. He aims to be the inspiration to others that you can overcome all obstacles that come with having Type 1 diabetes AND reach your dreams.

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Exclusive: Mark Andrews on not letting diabetes stop him from living his dreams originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington