How do we educate the world? This is a question that I ask myself on a daily basis. I have encountered numerous uneducated people, read articles and even seen things on television shows that just make my skin crawl. Now, I am not saying that I was educated about the differences with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes before J was diagnosed. Did I know there were two type's? Yes! Did I know the difference? No! This is why so many people lump them together into one category. However, I would have never offered advice nor spoke about the subject with my lack of knowledge.
Just the other day on a popular television show (The Little Couple on TLC) Bill Klein made a remark that had me up in arms and tweeting him. It was his son's birthday party and his son was handed a large piece of cake, in his interview he said this "I was given the opportunity to take the cake away from my son, or diabetes" Why do people think that eating a piece of cake would cause diabetes? More importantly why would you think that making a remark like that is even remotely acceptable? He is married to a Neonatologist and is an educated man, yet he found it socially acceptable to poke fun at diabetes! There is NOTHING funny about diabetes, whether you have Type 1 or Type 2. No one pokes fun at cancer. Why? Because it is a serious life threatening disease! What makes diabetes any different? There are babies, small children, teens and adults fighting for their life daily with no treatment or cure available to them. Some of those people lose their lives because of diabetes, even when they take the best care they possibly can of themselves! I have had people tell me "It could be worse, just be glad it isn't cancer" What kind of statement is that? Why do you think it's acceptable to hold one disease's severity over another? My son can still die from having Type 1 Diabetes and my son has to live the rest of his life with this disease!!
Since J was diagnosed it is no secret that I have tried my hardest to raise awareness and education about Type 1 Diabetes and the effects that it has on his daily life as well as our own. I figure that if I can touch just one new person and help them understand, then that person will continue to spread that knowledge on to the people in their life. I don't expect society to know everything about T1D, but I do expect them to listen and not continue to spread the stigma that it is ok to downplay diabetes and it's complications, nor is it ever ok to make diabetes a joke. People die every single day from this incurable disease. Insulin is NOT a cure, it is just merely life support until we have a cure.
If you have lived in this life for an extended period of time, I know that you have witnessed these things as well. Please, don't get discouraged from setting the record straight, speak up and defend diabetes and all of those who are fighting to beat the odds! Continue to share your story to those around you, you are making a difference!
If you are new to this life then please use your voice and help us spread awareness and education. We might just be one person, but if we all stand together and fight then we will be a force against society and it's stereotype!
Together We Stand and Together We Will Fight!