Patriots lineman works to raise funds for diabetes charity

The fight against type 2 diabetes is going to receive some super-sized help this football season, as the New England Patriots' defensive lineman Vince Wilfork has launched a new program in partnership with the Joslin Diabetes Center to raise money for research and prevention efforts.

The "Tackling Diabetes" program is asking for individuals and businesses to pledge $7.50 for every tackle made this season by the Pro-Bowl lineman. During the course of his seven-year career Wilfork has averaged more than 51 tackles per season.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Joslin Diabetes Center, which provides clinical care to individuals with diabetes as well as funding to researchers in an effort to cure the disease.

Wilfork has a track record of fundraising on behalf of diabetes causes. He told the Boston Herald that his interest in the condition began after he lost his father to the condition. Since then, he actively worked to raise the public's awareness of the damage diabetes can cause to a person's health as well as the toll it takes on society.

"The folks at the Joslin work to educate about prevention, offer healthier, longer lives to children and adults living with diabetes and their researchers are racing towards a cure," he told the news source. "[My wife] Bianca and I realize how precious life is and we are dedicated to doing all we can to prevent others from having to suffer the loss we did because of diabetes."

There are currently 79 million people in the U.S. who have prediabetes who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.