Some of Pistons guard Stackhouse's earliest memories are of his older sister Lois and Jean injecting themselves with insulin. At the time he didn't understand what diabetes was. Today Stackhouse has made education about the disease his personal mission. "I'm trying to get the word out," he says of his work as a spokesman for the American Diabetes Association and the National Diabetes Education Program. "It's crazy how many people pay attention if they hear an athlete's voice."
Diabetes awareness isn't Stackhouse's only charitable commitment. He also volunteers for a grade-school literacy program, runs a free summer hoops camp for junior high students and buys 25 tickets for every Pistons home game for disadvantaged kids. Still, most of his attention is devoted to diabetes, which has hit of his family hard—Lois and Jean died from the disease, and his parents, Minnie and George, are both diabetics. "I was a little leery when I heard he wanted to help. I wondered how genuine he was," says Jim Haveman, Michigan's Community Health director, who created public service ads about diabetes with Stackhouse. "But then I saw he truly cared."
Stackhouse is also a trustee of the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, many of whose patients are diabetics with motor problems. As one of the youngest board members of a major hospital, Stackhouse, 27, studies proposals and budgets, attends meetings and helps in fund-raising. "All I want is to educate," says Stackhouse, "to keep everybody from having to bury someone in the family."