University of South Carolina track and field coach Curtis Frye Jr. is all too familiar with the devastating effects of diabetes.
A diabetes patient himself, Frye lost his grandfather, father and brother to the disease – all before they had a chance to turn 60 years old.
“I’m able to maintain my condition and remain healthy because I’m active and I am surrounded by a staff of trainers and people who stay on top of me to exercise and eat right,” Frye said. “Others aren’t that fortunate.”
That’s why, on Friday, Nov. 27, Frye is kicking off what he hopes will be the first of many S.C. Rivalry Runs, a run and walk benefiting the National Diabetes Foundation and the Frye Foundation – held the day before the annual Clemson-Carolina football rivalry matchup.
Participants in the run get the T-shirt color of their team – garnet or orange.
“Folks in South Carolina may be divided over which university they support, but we all know we have to fight diabetes together,” Frye said.
Statewide, the numbers are staggering. According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, in 2007, South Carolina ranked 10th in the nation in the percentage of population with diabetes. By 2014, the state had jumped up six places to become the state with the fourth-highest rate of diabetes nationally.
“It’s become this epidemic,” Frye said. “We shouldn’t be leading the nation in this. We have to do something to raise awareness and help people understand how serious diabetes is and what they can do to prevent it.”
Frye’s desire to increase diabetes awareness across the state led his wife, Wilma, and him to establish the Frye Foundation in 2011. Since then, the foundation has held various fundraising events to provide support for South Carolina children with diabetes, including sending them to American Diabetes Association camps. The foundation also provides diabetes education and resources to communities in the state that cannot afford them.
Frye is hopeful the Rivalry Run will be the start of something bigger in the fight against diabetes.
“If I look back 20 years from now and I see a Rivalry Run held in cities around the state and know that it has helped people be aware of diabetes and that it has helped reduce the numbers in our state, I’d be a happy 84-year-old man.”
Janet Jones Kendall, email@example.com
S.C. Rivalry Run
5K walk/run sponsored by MetLife
WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27
WHERE: Starting line on Senate Street between Assembly and Park streets. Post-race roundup at Tin Roof, 1022 Senate St.
WORTH NOTING: Runners can choose to run for Team Garnet or Team Orange and will receive race T-shirts in corresponding colors.
COST: Through Thursday, Nov. 26, $40; race day, Friday, Nov. 27, $45. Proceeds benefit the Frye Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.
Main event: The game
Clemson vs. Carolina
WHEN: Kickoff is noon Saturday, Nov. 28.
WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium