Teenage athlete starts non-profit to aid fellow diabetics during COVID-19 pandemic

WARRINGTON, Pa. -- If you saw 19-year-old Ricardo Amorim Jr.'s all-star performance on the lacrosse field, you'd have a hard time believing he is a Type 1 Diabetic.

The recent high school graduate from Warrington, Pennsylvania, was the captain of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy's lacrosse team. He was also set to complete a senior service project volunteering at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

But he changed his game plan when COVID-19 cut his senior season - and graduating year - short.

He converted his energy and passion for the sport into a non-profit called, "We Are Better Than This-America."

Amorim Jr. notes that diabetics are more likely to suffer serious compilations or die from COVID-19. According to a journal published by the American Diabetes Association this month, "Among people with diabetes the mortality rate was 7.3%, more than three times that of the overall population."

Amorim Jr. keeps this reminder close to his side at all times. In addition to his continuous glucose monitor, he keeps an insulin pump wired to his stomach. The attached iPod-esque device will automatically regulate his insulin and sound an alarm when it needs adjusting.

But Amorim Jr. says not every diabetic is so lucky. Many are forced to poke and prod themselves with needles as an alternative to the high-tech pump. "It's just sad that, you know, there's a lot of people that are not in my position all because of their income," he said.

That's where his non-profit comes in.

"I want to make sure that middle class, lower income communities, minority communities, can afford the copayments to go buy the supplies," he said.

It boils down to three main points for the future college athlete. Any donations made to his non-profit are directed towards copays, education, and technology for diabetics.

"This is 2020. We don't have to be living on hypodermic needles," said Amorim's mother, Jillian. "It could be so much easier."

Jillian and her husband, Ricardo Amorim Sr. have many reasons to be proud of their son.

"He puts that same effort that he puts into sports to really trying to make the world a better place for Type 1 Diabetics," said Amorim Sr.

Their son is poised to study biology at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he will also play lacrosse on a full-ride scholarship.

"I want to help people around the world," he said with the intention of helping diabetics in the future as a doctor. "I think that's what I was put on this earth to do."

To learn more about the non-profit or to donate, visit WeAreBetterThanThis-America.org.

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