Dear Ellen,

People with diabetes deserve kindness!! I think you can help because people trust you and are inspired by you, I know I am.

I am writing to you because we have a national healthcare crisis….people, media and even White House officials are blaming and shaming people with Diabetes.  We need someone like you kind, caring, loving, AND who has a broad audience, to help us change the conversation about diabetes. The media, in particular, sensationalizes diabetes, only talking about suffering, negativity, gluttony and sloth and not sharing the stories of people thriving and making a difference in the diabetes community.  There are so, so many good stories.

November is diabetes month, and November 14th is World Diabetes Day. I am pleading with you to use your platform to help stop misinformation, stop stigma, stop blaming and encourage kindness and empathy so people with diabetes can live openly, not in the closet, and get the support they need to be healthy.

I am NOT a person living with diabetes. I am a certified diabetes educator and researcher, and I am ashamed to say that healthcare providers are often the worst culprits in blaming their patients.  I am supporting a campaign to Change the Conversation around diabetes both within the health system and in the general public. I have so many friends, and colleagues with diabetes and something needs to happen to correct the course we are headed on.

Read this blog post by my friend and person with type 1 diabetes, Renza…..she does a great job of summarizing the essence of the issue….

Just recently was the 8th annual Diabetes Blog Week.  One of the prompts was this:

Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgment from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger.  Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!  

LOOK AT THE 66 BLOG POSTS WRITTEN IN ONE DAY TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE!!!!!

I will volunteer my time to help coordinate a TV episode focused on changing the conversation around diabetes.  I envision a few CELEBRITIES who can help with the discussion…Nick Jonas who is on the Board of Directors of Beyond Type 1 Foundation. AND Several people with type 2 diabetes including Tom Hanks, Randy Jackson, Mike Huckabee, Drew Carey and more.  And an AUDIENCE full of people living with diabetes who will be empowered to hear words of acceptance, kindness, and compassion from Ellen, an Idol to many who can change the conversations happening in people’s living rooms and workplaces every day.

Do you know when the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino came out, social media went crazy saying it could cause diabetes? We are conducting a research study around stigma and the Unicorn Frappuccino-Really!

DIABETES IS GENETIC AND NOT CAUSED BY EATING SUGAR!

Some ideas…..Maybe we can play a game of Diabetes Myths to raise awareness of what is true and false?  We can showcase all of the amazing things people with diabetes do.  For example, Team NovoNordisk is an all type 1 diabetes professional athlete team with the goal of inspiring, educating and empowering people affected by diabetes. Maybe “Average Andy” could spend a day having diabetes and see how challenging it is for him to make decisions, take medication, count carbohydrates, learn when he needs to do physical activity.  Did you know that if a person with diabetes did EVERYTHING recommended every day it would take more than 2 hours!!! Or, Kevin the Cashier could work in a Walgreens or a grocery store and say the common things people say out of lack of knowledge, and then have someone with diabetes confront him and tell him truths.  I think there are many ways we can help to change the conversation. Maybe one of your sponsors would be interested in making a donation to a campaign to modify the dialogue and raise awareness of the truth about diabetes.

I am so sad for my friends with diabetes and those that are living with diabetes in secret because they don’t want to be identified as that lazy, unhealthy person that CAUSED themselves to be unwell.

Ellen, we need someone like YOU to help people be kind to people with diabetes.

I am here to help your team understand the issues and identify key people in the diabetes community to connect with.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
One of your biggest fans……
Deborah Greenwood, Ph.D., RN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE

About the Author Ashley Ng

Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to make positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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