About Us

Defeat Diabetes originated as a basketball team competing in the 2022 TBT, an annual, $1 million basketball tournament aired on ESPN. The team, co-founded by Jalen Nesbitt and Cristina Desemone, played on behalf of those with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and after a successful tournament week, they knew that this name had a greater calling. Therefore, what began as a basketball team, Defeat Diabetes has grown to be a continuous support in the T1D community to help spread awareness and search for a cure.

Our Mission

To advocate for those impacted by Type 1 Diabetes by establishing a culture of awareness and empowerment through sports to one day defeat diabetes.

Former University of North Florida Men’s Basketball star and Spartanburg, South Carolina native, Jalen Nesbitt, is currently in his eighth, consecutive year as a professional basketball player in Europe.

Cristina Desemone, who has been living with T1D since 2006, is a registered dietitian specializing in performance nutrition, working with athletes to help them reach their performance goals and prepare them for an elite level of play. Desemone has, also, been involved in the T1D community all her life, specifically working with organizations such as JDRF (a leading non-profit in T1D advocacy and research).  

Nesbitt had followed, and participated in, the TBT for years, and after meeting his now fiancée, Desemone, he knew the TBT would be an incredible platform to spread awareness of T1D. Together they formed a team of professional basketball players and coaches to help carry them to their inaugural year of the TBT in the Xavier Region at the Cintas Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio. They worked closely with JDRF to help expand their reach to more families impacted by T1D and Defeat Diabetes continued to grow.


Since the tournament, Nesbitt and Desemone have began collaborating with T1D chapters across the nation and developing new initiatives to stay involved in the T1D community. For example, Defeat Diabetes introduced a T1D Athlete of the Month program, highlighting young athletes living with T1D to inspire and educate others on what living with T1D can look like in sports. 

Although T1D is a life-long diagnosis, Defeat Diabetes wants to empower those living with T1D that there is nothing standing in your way and through your own strength and resilience, you too, can defeat diabetes everyday.