The thing is I know that smoking twenty a day increases my risk of heart disease and lung cancer. I know that if I exist on a diet of coca cola, fish and chips and fried food I run the risk of becoming obese. I know I need cervical smears to reduce the chance of developing cervical cancer. I know I should check my breasts regularly for abnormalities or pre cancerous lumps.
I know all of these because of the media, and billboard advertising, plus the doctor’s surgery, even my GP. I have consumed the messaging and feel I am in the know…
So why, two years ago, when my six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes did I blurt out, ‘but she doesn’t overload on sugar?’….
Why didn’t I know that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, one that is not associated in the slightest with the volume of candy consumed by my child; or by me during my pregnancy.
Why didn’t Colleen Nolan know this fact when she blurted out on Loose Women last week…
“What about people that eat too much during pregnancy and their kids are born with diabetes – are we going to pay them to stop eating.”
Why didn’t the pensioner who I made the mistake of chatting to last week, not know that my daughters condition was not the fault of mine or her chronic overeating, but down to an internal fault in her bodies mechanism. Why did I have to listen to her ask my daughter if she regretted eating the sweeties….
Why, put simply, are we so ill educated about Diabetes, a condition that is costing the NHS millions year on year.
There are many forms of Cancer, they are not caused by the same trigger. Some are lifestyle related, others are sadly inherited through blood, we label them differently whilst knowing they are a form of a similar, evil disease.
Kids with Diabetes almost always have Type 1, yet the media, and ill informed spokespeople frequently cry out about how food and sugar consumption have caused Diabetes, my little girl is frequently subjected to headlines that both blame her and promise her a cure for the condition.
There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes, my child, my friend Helen’s daughter, the kids I met on a Diabetes weekend; none of them are to blame for the condition they have developed at an age where they should be running around care free, not worrying about their sugar levels dropping. Constantly being vigilant against a condition that can impact them in later years if they don’t get on top of it now.
We need to re inform the world about Diabetes. I am simply sick and tired of having to tell my daughter it is not her fault.
A result this week came from a change in lyrics in the musical; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I visited this spectacular show last year with my children. It was amazing, but the whole performance was tainted slightly by a line in a song which involved a woman selling chocolate crying out ‘get your diabetes here…’
My Type 1 daughter again had to be reassured that she didn’t inflict herself with a condition (that involves up to ten blood tests daily, wearing a pump 24/7, and dealing with the trauma of hypoglycemia and hypers every week) because she over indulged on Easter Eggs one year.
To my delight, the show changed the lyrics this week, and have omitted all references to Diabetes.
It is a small victory, but that simple change helps stop perpetuate the myth that Type 1 Diabetes is caused by over indulgence of sugar.
Sadly, not much is being done to identify that Type 1 Diabetes is a non preventable condition that mainly affects kids.
Kids that can read headlines, hear the comments, and blame themselves.
It is time for a change.
Our Type 1 warriors need a break, they have enough on fighting the condition that if not managed properly can cause them serious problems in later life, or even, in extreme circumstances, kill.
Let’s change some perceptions….
This year I am trekking the Atlas Mountains to help raise money and awareness of Diabetes, my sponsorship page is here.