Understandably, as a mom of a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, my friend Betty Redmond was upset. And so she wrote the following, which she's agreed to let me share. It's so well-written, well-reasoned, and elegant that it's really more accurate to call it an article!
I recently picked up a copy of your June 2005 issue with Tim McGraw on the cover. As a first time reader of Redbook, I was delighted with the content until I reached pages 122 and 126. The media (and now your magazine) fails time and time again to properly define which type of diabetes they are discussing when warning readers against poor diets and sugary drinks. Please make sure that in the future you clearly state that you are discussing Type Two Diabetes. Do not lump all Diabetics together under the "diabetes" headline.
I invite you to meet my daughter Kryssy. (Betty attached a cute photo of Kryssy, who's a junior cheerleader with a great smile.) She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at age 6. She is healthy, active and skinny - yet she has "Diabetes." Kryssy is one of approximately 1 million children in the United States with the auto-immune version of Diabetes which is NOT preventable, is NOT curable and has absolutely NOTHING to do with diet.
When you write an article and print warnings about getting Diabetes, you make Kryssy's life more difficult. Children with Type One Diabetes have to continuously explain to the world that they did not do this to themselves. You won't believe how much damage the media does with this one little slip. Type One Diabetes is not something Kryssy could prevent. It is simply the result of an auto-immune attack on her beta-cells that caused her to stop producing insulin. No matter how many organic, low carb, low calorie meals my daughter consumed as a toddler, she still developed the disease. Diet had NOTHING to do with the onset for her and the other one million children with Type One Diabetes.
To a person not familiar with the disease, they may read your article and say "Oh, if Kryssy just didn't drink a soda, she wouldn't have to wear that insulin pump day after day." When Kryssy (before she was more educated in her own disease) was younger and she was told time and again about an article someone read that said you can go off shots if you lower your carb/calorie intake each day, she was given false hope. Kryssy will never again make a drop of insulin. This is a life-long sentence for her. The least you could do is print the appropriate message - just add Type Two to every article you write about "Diabetes" until one day you decide to cover an article on the beautiful, happy, healthy and fit children afflicted with Type One Diabetes.
I invite you to visit Children with Diabetes to get a better understanding about how very different Type One and Type Two Diabetes are. Visit the faces and places pages to see many of these healthy, fit and active children living with the disease.
Thanks so much for this great article, Bettty! I hope that people reading it will get as much out of it as I did.