“Type-2 Diabetes is an enormous problem in this
country, but in Native American communities, it’s an epidemic. My uncle just died of heart
failure at 60. My mom has diabetes, my grandmother died of diabetes, and my first cousin
lost his foot to diabetes. There’s not one family in what we call ‘Indian Country’ that’s not
personally dealing with this illness.
“Type-2 diabetes is preventable — the way to curb this
problem is to address the health and wellness of the Native American youth. The Notah
Begay III Foundation uses golf and soccer to provide health education to communities that
have historically seen youth programs come and go with grant cycles. Luckily, I didn’t sleep
through all my classes at Stanford [Begay has an economics degree], and I make sure that
our donors’ gifts are invested productively and responsibly to create a sustainable program
that will serve the community for decades.
“We’ve raised a lot of money through two Notah
Begay Challenge skins games, with help from some of my friends like Mike Weir, Camilo
Villegas and my ‘brother,’ Tiger Woods. Hopefully, we can move the needle on diabetes in
these communities for a whole generation.”