It was just recently announced that Pop Superstar Usher has a child with type 1. Since that information was released I have seen a clamoring for him to become the new face of diabetes. To give all of his money and fame to the cause.
He has just begun to speak publicly about it, even though it may have happened awhile ago. Why did it take him so long? I can’t speak for him, but I know that for us, it took the better part of a year before we even came out of our house again. I was scared for my child. I was devastated at the diagnosis, our family didn’t have the support group that we do now, we lacked knowledge and experience, stories of blindness and amputations and worse filled our thoughts, and again, we were just plain scared. Being rich and famous doesn’t remove ANY of that from this horrible disease. I can only imagine that as a single dad, he is having some similar issues.
I always proceed with caution when putting eggs in the celebrity basket. It seems so hard to not be disappointed. “Is he doing enough?” “Is he doing anything?” “Does he support the same type 1 research that I do, or does he support a competing, “lessor” research?” “He has all that money, it must be easy for him” “is he propagating stereotypes or myths?” I feel it is a very slippery slope. I live in LA. I am barraged with celebrities telling me who to vote for, what cause to believe in, or what proposition to back. I’m a big fan of boots on the ground. Do the work. Immerse yourself in it. The fact that Usher is a single dad, with custody of his kids, already makes me understand that he gets it. Instead of him being my voice, I want to walk up to HIM, give him a hug, and let HIM know that I understand. I want to be HIS voice.
While I agree that the possibility of new people learning, being educated, and raising more funding for much needed research towards a cure is amazing, and Usher has a very high profile that can (and I hope will) be used towards that, I also believe in the power that I have to affect change. To Educate. To Advocate. To Inform. To stir shit up. To empower my child. I believe that education, advocacy, and change starts right here, with me.
I think that what we do here, what is being done on Facebook in groups like Mods or T1DN, what the DOC does, what Saving Luke – A Diabetic Alert Dog for Luke does, is of much greater value to those of us living with it. What we are showing to our own children, and to those we come in contact with daily makes a huge difference. Think globally, act locally. #weneedacure #itstartswithus