Yesterday I saw that you had posted a photo of yourself holding packets of sugar in front of a giant can that had "diabetes" written on the front of it, and I shared my angry thoughts on it on Twitter and it got 30 retweets and 24 favourites, evidently the diabetes community shared my views. I know you've received a lot of angry messages and tweets and comments all in response to your photo and I know you've tweeted that you "fully understand" why people are mad about your photo, but you'll never "fully understand" really, if you did then perhaps you would have taken the photo down...but it's still up, and it's still up there with it's 32,320 likes, 1,381 comments and 1,702 shares, it's there contributing to the stigma around diabetes, the stigma that those of us who actually have diabetes, are trying to end.
This isn't just strictly to you, Jamie, but to all of the other people who have done something similar and to raise awareness of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in general.
Here is what I have to say about your photo, the photo that I wish you would have never put up because it's offensive and it makes you almost as bad as the people on Instagram who put up photos of cakes and sweets and hashtag them with #diabetes, #imgoingtogetdiabetes, #thisisdiabetes. I have Type 1 Diabetes, I was diagnosed when I was 11 almost 12 years old on June 21st 2009, I'm now 17 years old and I've had this diabetes blog since March 2013, as you may or may not be able to tell I'm very passionate about raising awareness of this disease.
Let me tell you about type 1, I didn't get it from a can of coke. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, my immune system killed off the insulin-producing cells in my pancreas through no fault of my own. I know the can doesn't say type 1 or type 2, but just 'diabetes' and a lot of people have responded to those of us with type 1 diabetes that have taken offence to the photo with "but the can doesn't say type 1 OR 2?" and my response? That's the point. I wish people would stop using the word 'diabetes' as an umbrella term, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are very different from each other.
Secondly, sugar alone doesn't even cause type two diabetes, there are other factors like genetics that cause it. In fact, fit and healthy people can develop type two, think of Sir Steve Redgrave for example- he is an Olympian, and he lives with type 2 diabetes, he's not a fat, old, sugar-consuming slob who lies on the sofa all day. So in actual fact, the can shouldn't say 'diabetes' at all. I'm all for promoting healthy eating and exercise but why is it so hard for people to do it without mentioning diabetes? I know that diet can be a contributor to type 2 but if you're going to say that then say type 2 diabetes! Don't just refer to it as 'diabetes', because that adds to people being unable to differentiate between the two diseases and thus diabetes becomes a disease for the obese, when those of us with type 1 and even some with type 2 did nothing to cause it.
It's offensive, it is so offensive to see a photo like yours, Jamie. I have to test my blood sugar 4+ times a day, and I wear an insulin pump 24/7 just to stay alive, I am dependent on insulin and I did nothing to bring that upon myself, I have type one DIABETES. I have diabetes, and when I see it sprawled over the front of a can of coke it makes me so mad. Your photo is so incredibly irritating. Also, a lot of people with type 2 didn't do anything to bring it upon themselves so they're probably equally as irritated.
If I could ask you one thing it would be please take the photo down. I am diabetic and I did not get diabetes from a can of coke. I depend on an insulin pump to live and I need to test my blood sugar daily, I have to carry various supplies like spare cannulas, glucose, injection pens, needles, and I live with the risk of getting complications like blindness, nerve damage and kidney failure, and no part of that is my own fault.
And I wish not that just Jamie Oliver understands that, but that the rest of society does too.