Vince Wilfork has been playing football since he was a kid. He has also been living with the aftereffects of losing one of his parents to the insidious disease, diabetes. Wilfork has been deeply moved by that experience and has vowed to wage a fight against the disease using all the resources available to him.
After losing his father - who was just 48 at the time -- to complications from diabetes Wilfork's efforts have been to raise awareness and donations to support the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) in Miami. He has also established the Vince Wilfork Foundation to further assist the DRI and has teamed up with the Joslin Diabetes Center (Affiliated with Harvard Medical School).
The most recent effort the Patriots' big man in the middle is supporting comes in the form of a raffle. The grand prize is an all expense paid BBQ cookout with Wilfork and his family, tickets to the Patriots home games, a new Weber grill, VIP passes to his Draft Day party next year and cash to pay the taxes due for the awards.
The raffle is an opportunity for fans to support Wilfork's favorite charitable cause while getting a chance to win a once in a lifetime experience with New England's nose tackle.
"This is a cause near and dear to me after loosing my dad to diabetes," Wilfork told Patriots Insider. "Anything I can do to help makes a difference for the cause."
Tickets for the raffle, which will be held on June 15th, are just $2 each with a minimum order of 5 tickets. They can be purchased at www.netraffle.org
Wilfork understands that the economy has had an impact on charities. In a statement on his website, he admitted that the economy can he hard on everyone, especially those affected by the disease.
"I know that times are hard right now and that is the case for everyone but for me as a person who does not have diabetes I can only imagine what times are like for someone who does."
Still, he's determined to do something to help. Wanting to convey that fighting diabetes wasn't just a personal crusade, Wilfork told Patriots Insider it's important to everyone to contribute to the cause.
"Everyone knows someone effected with diabetes," Wilfork said "If we don't come together we will not stop other kids from loosing their parents like I lost dad."