Cass and JoJo

Cass and JoJo

Cass and JoJo

Cass and JoJo are two young women who share a love for basketball and irrepressible spirits. Oh yes, they also share a disease they’re determined won’t keep them from pursuing their dreams.  


  • Cass: 
  • Diagnosed with T1D at 12 yrs old  
  • Chatham NJ 
  • Saint Michael’s College Junior 
  • Guard-Saint Michael’s College 
  • Celiac Disease  
  • Extra navicular bone in both feet (208 bones) 🙂 
  • Business and Psychology Major  


  • JoJo: 
  • Diagnosed with T1D at 4 years old 
  • Jericho, VT 
  • Love singing, playing guitar and piano, and songwriting 
  • Started playing basketball to become better than my brother. Now I just love it! 
  • HS senior at Mount Mansfield Union High School in Vermont  
  • I have an adopted brother who is 36 days older than me and he also has Type 1 diabetes.  


**How did you find out you had T1D?  

  • Cass: I went to a diner with my grandparents and had hot chocolate and chocolate chip pancakes. I went home and slept for a few hours and went to the bathroom about 5 times that night. Off to the doctor the next day…   
  • JoJo: I was little. We had family coming to town for my older sister’s birthday and everyone was getting ready for a big party. My parents noticed I was drinking lots of water, losing weight, sleeping a lot, kind of like I had the flu or something. The day of the party they took me to my doctor, who sent us right to the hospital. I was there for three days. 


**Coolest Day:  

  • Cass: I scored 25 points to get my 1000 points in high school on Cougar night in front of a packed gym with all my friends and family. There were posters, banners and balloons everywhere, and it seemed as though everyone was there to support me and cheer me on. I dreamed of that moment since I was a little girl, and it was even better than I could have imagined.  
  • JoJo: meeting Ray Allen. On my way to diabetes camp my dad surprised me and my brother when we stopped by a basketball camp he was running. My dad knows Ray and they set up the whole thing because I used to send Ray cards and pictures. We got to see his wife Shannon and their son Walker, who also has Type 1. We took pictures and talked about his games and how to shoot. It got me even more excited about basketball. 


**Most embarrassing moment:  

  • JoJo: I fell into trash can at my cousin’s wedding party, in front of my whole family. 
  • Cass: Bought brand new pink underwear, and I wore them to my home basketball game that night. The pink color bled
    through all over my white shorts in front of the whole crowd.  


**Biggest T1D Challenge:  

  • Cass: Type 1 diabetes is mentally straining. I sometimes obsess over all the numbers on blood glucose and carbs, and eating. I have had to learn that I cannot control everything. It was extremely challenging admitting to myself that I may need help, and that this obsessive nature is not healthy. I have had to, and continue to have to keep my mental health stable because you have diabetes 100% of the time and there is no taking a break from it. Sometimes it can literally drive you crazy, and you may need help staying healthy, mentally and physically.  
  • JoJo: Maintaining and keeping up. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t give me a break and sometimes I just want to be like everyone else and not have to test or have a pump on me. Like Cass said, it can be really stressful, and it can get in the way, and get into your head and you just have to deal, and sometimes it’s really hard. 


**What’s the hardest aspect of playing basketball and having Type 1 diabetes: 

Cass: Maintaining a good blood sugar, and not going low. Sometimes it seems like I have to drink gallons or eat bars and I feel so full. And you try not to think about it, but it’s there. 

JoJo: If I have to test because I feel low, I hate that people think I’m trying to get out of a drill. They have no idea how awful it feels. 


**Favorite Sport:  

  • JoJo: Softball was my favorite sport until 7th grade when I started playing basketball, then that was it. 
  • Cass: Soccer up until high school, but then I fell in love with basketball.  


**Favorite Player:  

  • Cass: Steph Curry because I love his craftiness and shooting capability. I like to watch him and model my game after him. 
  • JoJo: Ray Allen because I loved how he handled himself and the game, and I loved watching his backspin because I have to keep working on mine.  


**Favorite Number:  

  • Cass: 22! My grandpa was number 22 when he played basketball in college, and my uncle and brother kept the tradition going. I now wear the number 22 at SMC. I wear number 22 for my grandpa who absolutely loved the game.  
  • JoJo: 22! My mom’s number was 32 in high school and her number was taken so I chose 22 and have stuck with it.  


**Favorite Singer:  

  • Cass: Jason Derulo, favorite song, “It Girl”  
  • JoJo: Dean Martin, favorite song, “Ain’t that a kick in the head” 


**Favorite Quote:  

  • Cass: “I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I’ve ever known” -Drake  
  • JoJo: “The good Lord gave me talent and I’ll use it until it runs out” – Dean Martin 


**Where do you want to be in 5 years?  

  • Cass: Living in an apartment in Boston with a few friends and my first job.  
  • JoJo: Somewhere warm and sunny. Doing something in music, maybe producing or singing, even in coffee shops. 


**Dream Destination:  

  • Cass: Thailand 
  • JoJo: Greece (my mom flies there a lot) 


**Bucket list: 

  • Cass: Climb to the top of Machu Picchu  
  • JoJo: Sing in a concert, sold-out. 


**How do you want to use Type 1 diabetes in a positive way in the future?  

  • Cass: I want to use my accomplishments in sports and school to show kids that they don’t have to change their goals because they have Type 1diabetes, and to help them prepare by being honest and preparing for the harsh, difficult realities and challenges that come with this disease.  
  • JoJo: I want to work with younger kids at diabetes camps and help them understand their disease and help them become more confident in themselves as they live with it.  


** What the hardest part about living with T1D?  

  • Cass: Lack of spontaneity. I love doing things in the spur of the moment, and being free to do anything at any moment. This is almost impossible to do with T1D because I always have to plan my meals, bring my insulin, have gummies on me, etc. 
  • JoJo: Yup, I agree. 


**If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  

  • Cass: Lion. I have wild blonde hair, and it just seems fitting. Also, I’m powerful and fierce.  
  • JoJo: I would want to be a giraffe, so I could look around and see everything. 


**Biggest Lesson learned from T1D:  

  • JoJo: No matter how much you try to brush it away or think you can ignore it, you will always have it and you have to take care of it so I can do everything I dream of doing. And that’s hard, but you have to try! 
  • Cass: You cannot be perfect! You have to take what life gives you and do your best, but you’re not perfect, and you are going to have challenges in life, so handle them the best you can and live life to the fullest.  


**Best “gift” T1D has given you?  

  • Jojo: All the amazing people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made who don’t judge me because I have this disease.  
  • Type 1 diabetes has taught me to connect with all types of people with all kinds of challenges without any judgment.  


We are both women with type 1 diabetes and we play basketball, but this is just part of who we are. There is so much more to each of us. Type 1 diabetes has brought us together and allowed us to share our stories and experiences.  

All Type 1 diabetics have one thing in common. T1D. It doesn’t define us but it connects us in a way no one else can understand. We can still live the way we want to live but we also have unique challenges, and rewards that come along the way!