Three years ago Charlotte-based drummer Neel Jadeja was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I don't think anyone expects that diagnosis. There's a history of diabetes on my father's side of the family, for instance, so when my super athletic cousin was diagnosed at age 10, it was unfortunate but not a total shock. In Jadeja's case the news was actually very shocking.
As a professional drummer in the band Sunny Ledford who was signed for a time to MCA Records and toured with hard rock bands like the Deftones and Godsmack, Jadeja was leading the typical rock n' roll lifestyle even after he quit the band. He was hospitalized in May 2010 because of alcoholism. That's when he received the news that not only would he need to kick the bottle, but he'd have to overhaul his lifestyle completely.
Jadeja got involved with the local chapter of the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which no longer focuses only on juveniles because 85 percent of those with Type 1 in the US are adults). On Saturday he'll participate in the JDRF 5K Walk to Cure Diabetes at Carowinds with his team Ones n' Noses. For more info on how to donate or participate click here.
You can hear Jadeja recount his story above with lots of candid photos. What he doesn't address is how he's used his rock n' roll past to promote diabetes awareness and this walk in particular in the same way he's used his connection to the Bobcats to draw more support for the cause. He's raffled items autographed by Type 1's most famous face - Bret Michaels - as well as a drum head signed by Pink and her band.
Outside of his efforts with JDRF, Jadeja has since started a new band, Darlings of the Underground. The trio plays NoDa's Chop Shop May 10. To find out more about the band and Saturday's walk follow him on Twitter here.