Wednesday, 10 November 2010 12:55

(Little Joe teams up with Rick Trevino and Raul Navaira for diabetes benefit in a Sunday concert,. In this profile by correspondent Ramon Hernandez, Little Joe talks about his struggle.)

Little Joe, Rick Treviño and Raulito Navaira can all relate to diabetes.

“I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes,” the Tejano music mega star revealed last year.

“It didn’t shock me … because for years, different doctors kept

 telling me that I needed to bring down my blood sugar levels, but that was it. They never told me what I needed to do to control it.

This was a surprise to those that know the 70-year-old living legend who has been a vegetarian twenty-one years, jogged, did yoga, worked with weighs and lived an overall healthy lifestyle until he kicked back and got a little lax. As for his family, his brother Antonio “Top” Hernández died from the disease at 78.

Treviño jumped on Little Joe’s band wagon because, as he says, “My grandma, Minerva Treviño, was diabetic and my uncle Mike Chávez (not the founder of the 1970s Mike Chávez Chicano Music Awards) was diabetic as well.

“It was pretty hard on her toward the end of her days, so when you know it’s in your family, you especially support this cause.”

High blood pressure and high cholesterol genetically run in the internationally famous Austin-based country and western singer’s family and he has to watch his diet even when he eats healthy.

“I exercise regularly. My dad (Rick Treviño Sr., formerly with Neto Pérez and the Latinaires) and I also hunt white tail deer in Brady; and my three kids – Luke, 13; Olivia, 9; and Presley, 5; love the meat because it’s leaner and therefore healthy.”

Incidentally, the boyish-looking Houston-native and his wife Karla have been married 20 years.

In Navaira’s case, he said, “Diabetes runs heavy on both sides of my family. I love Dr. Treviño’s program because they’re educating kids on the importance of eating healthy.

“When we were kids, we didn’t know anything and we ate because we were hungry. But we ran and rode bikes. The downfall today is that kids don’t exercise because of video games. They don’t run and they don’t ride bicycles. Now that I’m aware of the dangers, I walk three miles each morning, but it’s sometimes hard to healthy when you’re on the road.”

This concert will benefit the Social and Health Research Center so it can continue its research on obesity on children plus provide books and materials for children who cannot afford the materials.

“Texas has one of the highest diabetes and obesity rates,” Denise Jones said.

The sales and marketing manager for SHRC added that diabetes is a controllable disease and their aim is to produce healthy adults by healthy eating and exercise.

“After I was told I was diabetic and took a class, I found out Type II diabetes is real prevalent with children seven, eight and nine and I got real concerned since I love children.”

Next José Gallegos gave Little Joe a copy of “The Forgotten Children” and introduced him to its author, Dr. Roberto Treviño.

“I read it and it made me laugh. It made me angry and it made me cry. Then I knew I wanted to get involved to prevent diabetes, especially in children,” the King of the Brown sound said. “So I made a commitment to raise $100,000 and that’s not an easy thing to do.

“The money is important to get the message out, to make people aware,” Little Joe continued. “That’s what triggered this off, when I realized my diabetes could have been prevented had I been informed; and we should all have this information. So you can say that I’ve embarked on a children’s crusade I hope to lead until the day I die – to help the families that

are already diabetic and avoid children from becoming diabetic.

Remember, as Dr. Treviño says, “You don’t catch diabetes, you develop diabetes.”

Last year Little Joe sang his heart out for his favorite cause at, but there were not enough people to support the cause. Nonetheless, this did not deter him from putting on one of his best-ever performances.
Like love, fundraisers are a two-way street. Both parties have to do their part. In this case, la raza didn’t return the love.

This year, the change in venue promises to translate into a win-win situation for everyone because one, the ticket price, $32.95, is cheaper than the normal park admission. Besides getting to do all the rides, this includes a free health fair and a free concert. Season pass holders, of course can come in without having to pay one additional cent.

Best of all, Fiesta Texas will donate a portion of the admissions to the Social and Health Research Center.
Showtime at Lil’s Amphitheater is 2 p.m. Each artist will be accompanied by their own bands, and Treviño will have the addition of Max Baca and David Farías.

Furthermore, Little Joe is asking other bands that wish to participate in this fundraiser to please call Jones at (210) 274-0089 so they can be added to the roster of performers.

Readers can order their tickets for this Sunday’s show via