Cliff Avril's grandmother, mother, aunts, and uncle have all been affected by diabetes, so it's no wonder the Seahawks defensive end is taking steps to support the fight against the disease.
This month, Avril will host his second-annual 'Dining to Make a Difference' celebrity waiter event to help raise funds and awareness for juvenile diabetes prevention techniques. On Monday, Sept. 28 at Woodinville's Columbia Winery, Avril and several of his Seahawks teammates will work as waiters for the evening, serving up a three-course meal to guests on hand. Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Michael Bennett were a few of the faces who showed up at Avril's inaugural celebrity waiter event last year.
Proceeds from the night, which will also feature a live and silent auction, will benefit the Cliff Avril Family Foundation, which Avril launched in March 2014 inspired by the loss of his grandmother to encourage healthy living through nutrition and exercise for youth diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
"It's going to be fun and it's for a great cause," said Avril, who was thrilled by the support he received at last year's event. "I think the big thing for me is I see my mom deal with it every day. She has Type 2 diabetes, but I see her deal with it. My grandma passed from it. So I took it a step further with juvenile diabetes because especially with Type 2 there's ways of coping with it, or getting it to pass just from your lifestyle, from what you eat, being active, and different things like that.
"It just touches home for me," he added. "Like I said, seeing my mom and some of my aunties, they all deal with diabetes. I just felt like it was only right."
Avril practices what he preaches, too, noting his mother instilled healthy eating habits in him at an early age. It's something he's hoping to pass along to his own young son, Xavier.
"As a parent that's your job, to try get them on the right track," Avril said. "I feel like with kids you can start early with them for them to understand how important it is to eat healthy. If they're not eating sugar, or they're not eating sweets all the time, then when they get older it's just a natural habit. I don't really eat sweets that much due to how my mom raised me. So that's a big thing for me is keeping him active and watching what he eats because [diabetes] is so prevalent in our family."
For more information about the event, Avril's foundation, or to donate directly to the cause, head to www.CliffAvrilFamilyFoundation.org.
Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and other Seahawks players joined the Cliff Avril Family Foundation's Dining to Make a Difference Monday night.