There has been an offensive joke that has been flying around Facebook recently. It’s not new, it’s been around awhile, and it has taken several forms. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:
diabetes2
I find this particularly offensive, and I was having a tough time processing my feelings on this. I was angry. I was hurt. I realized that my daughter will spend a lifetime dealing with things like this. And then I did what I normally do, I turned to our Facebook page and wrote about it. It was late last night when I did it, so after I posted it, I headed off to bed. What I woke up to was amazing, inspiring, and brought tears to my eyes.
Here is my original post, it included a picture of my daughter:”It’s been a rough couple of days in the diabetic world. There has been a meme floating around that is a math problem about some candy bars and by eating them you get diabetes. Now, I appreciate a good joke just as much as the next person. And since diabetes is so serious, I often try to look at a lighter side. But several sites are keeping all the LOL comments, and deleting any comments that are an effort to educate. These kind of things just perpetuate myths and stereotypes that hurt and belittle diabetics, both type 1 and type 2. It is a thinly veiled form of bigotry, and if race were involved, the backlash would be massive. Sometimes I feel that the support of other diseases/afflictions/issues are better organized, more vocal, better educated. If the joke was about breast cancer or autism, would the page even exist anymore? The uproar would be massive, and justifiably so. But because people believe that diabetes is largely a self inflicted disease, that somehow makes us easy targets? Because this is an obese, lazy disease? Well, that just reinforces the mission. Educate. Advocate. And call people on their bullshit. You want to know what diabetes is? What diabetes looks like? It looks like this:
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Then an amazing thing happened over night. The post got shared. And then other diabetics shared their images of what diabetes looks like to them. And you know what? It’s beautiful. Yes, you heard me. What diabetes looks like is beautiful. But don’t just trust me, see for your self, straight from my Facebook post:

 

  • Dorrie Nuttall This is the face of Type 1 diabetes.

    Dorrie Nuttall's photo.
  • Michelle Gonzalez This is the face of Type 1 diabetes.

    Michelle Gonzalez's photo.
  • Valerie Squire Go Frank ! Maybe we can get enough people to see it through your site, and Dorrie‘s. Let’s get the word out. Diabetics are strong, we are smart, and we kick the crap out of candy bars.
  • Donna Wrabiutza This is the face of Type 1 diabetes-

    Donna Wrabiutza's photo.
  • Heather Martire Kitts This is the face of Type 1

    Heather Martire Kitts's photo.
  • Jennifer Breton Dearborn This is the face of Type 1 Diabetes.

    Jennifer Breton Dearborn's photo.
  • Abby Burch 22 at dx, this is the face of type 1 as well!

    Abby Burch's photo.
  • Jenny Karns Stella is amazing!!! Thank you all for being such good educators about Diabetes. Crystal Bowersox, check this out!
  • Kristina Akridge This is the face of a Type 1 Diabetic that knows her math..

    Kristina Akridge's photo.
  • Leslie King This is also the face of T1D

    Leslie King's photo.
  • Amber Green This is the face of type 1 diabetes.

    Amber Green's photo.
  • Carli Tarsha Lowry This is also the face of type 1 diabetes. Let’s put some stereotypes to rest!

    Carli Tarsha Lowry's photo.
  • Ivana Marega Ovo je lice Tip 1 diabetesa .

    Ivana Marega's photo.
  • Julie Taron This is the face of type I diabetes.

    Julie Taron's photo.
  • Heather Perry This too is the face of T1D

    Heather Perry's photo.
  • Kim Wiley Stanley So is this. Diagnosed 1/27/13.

    Kim Wiley Stanley's photo.
  • Jenny Falter Mattingly This also is the face of Type 1 Diabetes

    Jenny Falter Mattingly's photo.
  • Teena Hardin Hubbard This is also the precious face of Type 1 diabetes.

    Teena Hardin Hubbard's photo.
  • Shawna Perko Smith and one who likes to be out and biking!

    Photo

    My daughter, Bella, diagnosed this year is the inspiration for this project. Rea…See More
    It’s Nov 14, 2013, World Diabetes Day, and I have started a project to educate a…See More
    • Gonzalo Lara This is what a Type-1 diabetic looks like. He was diagnosed when he was 7 years old.
      Gonzalo Lara's photo.

    That is what diabetes looks like.Pretty amazing, right? I am pleased to say that I know several of the children above personally. And they are all pretty spectacular.

    So a big, HUGE thank you to those of you that showed us what diabetes looks like to you. I am so inspired by you all. Our kids deserve better, and we will continue working so that ignorance and misinformation can be replaced by compassion, empathy, and a cure. We will keep on fighting, and hopefully someday, while buying dinner and a desert at a restaurant, no one will say “would you like a side of diabetes with that?” ever again. They will know that candy bars don’t cause diabetes, but they may save a diabetics life. And really, those of us that know understand that diabetics are REALLY good at math. They have to be, their lives depend on it.
    Team Blackdogsrule
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8 Comments

  1. YAY Frank, and Dorrie and everyone else who fights every day, I still remember what seems like a life time ago when I heard the words, “your daughter is in a diabetic coma”, and knowing that life as she knew it would be forever changed, my fear, my ignorance of the disease, and the feeling that I as a nurse knew so little. The day she asked me, why me, the only thing I could say was, because God knew you would be strong enough to live with this and grow and learn and teach. Thank you for your posts, they give me strength

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iiKmHL7GM4&list=PLf8Jl5CUuObLp5OgaxTAKd8F9XYGiGfPi

    These are also the faces of Type 1. I made this video a few years ago to help fundraise for our JDRF walk. It features my two amazing T1D kids. Feel free to post it on your FB page.

  3. I called out a friend of mine last week for posting that joke on Facebook. In a gentle way, of course. But people also need to see the face of Type 2 diabetics. Where are those photos? I’d put up my own, but I’m Type 1 (he added, sheepishly).

  4. And it’s not only children and young people who are the face of T1 diabetes. If I could post a photo of myself here, I would. And the T2s are no more at fault than T1’s; I just read an article about a study that said that there was no evidence of steady or sudden weight gain before the onset of T2, and that the insulin resistance remained steady from well before diagnosis until well after. So it’s not weight, and it’s not candy bars, and it’s not just children. Let’s advocate together!

  5. So often we or people do not understand or try to understand a problem until we face that problem ourselves. We should always look an study before we make shallow remarks. My great niece has been dealing with this since she 3 was or it was discovered when she was three.Children are wonderful, she has shown more courage than most people show in a life time. So many things they deal with each day, diet, exercise, checking those sugar levels. I pray for all those that fight this battle. They do not need to be made feel it is their fault because of the candy ( they haven’t eaten).

  6. Wonderful post. Sadly, I know of another half-dozen beautiful friends and family members that are Type 1. I pray every day that their lives become easier through technology or a cure. Pamela in New Orleans.

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