Diabetes Forecast

People to Know 2015: Rufus Dorsey

By James Samson ,

Rufus Dorsey

Rufus Dorsey was at the top of his game when tragedy struck: The Philadelphia native was a standout athlete and preparing to leave for college on a football scholarship when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He saw the chronic disease as a life sentence and went into a downward spiral of denial and depression. If it weren’t for his mother’s love and support, he says, he might not have climbed out of that pit. But with her strength and encouragement, Rufus was able to refocus on his goals and take back his health.

After four years of college football, a move to Los Angeles, and film and television gigs, Rufus became a personal trainer, laying the foundation for his most significant part yet: role model.

When he was diagnosed over 25 years ago, there was an absence of individuals, especially competitive athletes, serving as role models for those of us with diabetes. That’s part of his reason for cofounding D-Force for Life, a program that promotes health and wellness and provides support for and inspiration to people with diabetes. Rufus hopes to be the type of role model that was missing in his own life.

He’s a leader outside D-Force for Life, too. He is a volunteer motivational speaker for the American Diabetes Association and a volunteer for the West Los Angeles chapter of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program.

I appreciate his efforts to be a positive voice for (and face of) the disease. I’ve taken to heart his philosophy: Control diabetes; don’t allow it to control you.

James Samson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly after joining the world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company 14 years ago. He’s currently rehearsing the acclaimed choreographer’s 143rd opus. He’ll spend the rest of his fall performing around the world. Read more about James at diabetesforecast.org/jamessamson.



Take the Type 2
Diabetes Risk Test