While signing autographs Nov. 11 before the Seattle Seahawks hosted the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field, the mother of one of players relayed to Charlie Kimball that quarterback Russell Wilson’s late father had been a type 1 diabetic like Kimball.

“I would have never known that unless she told me. It’s much less than the six degrees of separation?” said Kimball, who attended the event in support of sponsor Novo Nordisk during Diabetes Awareness Month.

With the escalating rate of diabetes (the World Health Organization estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes and the number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention), that degree of separation will continue to shrink.

“It continually surprises me during a race weekend or during one of these events who say to me I don’t have diabetes but my cousin or brother or uncle do,” said Kimball, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007 but competes at the highest level of open-wheel racing in North America.

The IZOD IndyCar Series driver continues to drive the message of diabetes awareness and education, and has been especially busy this month. On Nov. 14 – World Diabetes Day – he’ll take part in programs at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization and became an official United Nations Day in 2007. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes community and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight.

“(Events) focus on diabetes education and awareness. Also, I remind people that your diabetes doesn’t have to slow you down and at the same time it’s a time for the diabetes community to come together and show the world how strong we are,” Kimball said.

“That’s one of the great things about being associated with Novo Nordisk is all the work they’ve done with the United Nations to recognize World Diabetes Day. It’s a great opportunity to stand together as one group and educate people who might not know they are part of that community, know what that community means and what they can do together.”