Nadine Pedersen, the mother of teenagers with type 1 diabetes, spoke to CBC's The Earli Edition on breaking stereotypes about the disease and stopping sugar-related jokes.
I drove my 13-year-old son, Hudson, who was living with type 1 diabetes, to school early Wednesday, when we heard a coward on CBC Radio about eating Sweet Sweets causing diabetes.
Hudson and I looked and stood, because such comments are so common and not so based.
It's a common mistake, like when someone makes a joke that is not well known. It only thrills you.– Hudson Carpenter
Since Hudson has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for eight years, we've met people who assume his health is the result of not eating well.
In fact, type 1 diabetes is not diet-related. It is an incurable, life-threatening autoimmune disorder.
People develop type 1 diabetes after an attack on the immune system and kill the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Without insulin, people die because their bodies are not able to convert food into energy.
Living with type 1
For survival, Hudson needs to finger his toes and test the blood several times a day.
It is linked to the insulin pump 24 hours a day and has a continuous glucose monitor attached to his arm.
Hudson has to calculate carbohydrates in every thing he puts into his mouth to give him the right amount of insulin.
Often, in the middle of the night, we tried to prevent blood sugar or blood sugar – any of them could be deadly.
It's kinda awful because you might fall asleep and never wake up and it's every night.– Hudson Carpenter
In one of the social media, I turn to raise awareness about diabetes, occasionally posting pictures of blue candles.
These candles indicate the passing of children who have died of diabetes. Sometimes these kids die from low blood sugar levels during the night. The second time is because their symptoms of type 1 diabetes are wrongly diagnosed as flu.
These children end up with a coma and never get out of it.
As you would expect, these stories are not very funny.
People make diabetes jokes like a reflex, without really thinking about what they are saying.
They do not realize that in making these jokes there is a misinformation about a really complex and severe illness.
Some people feel "OK" to be on diabetes because they associate type 2 diabetes with people who are overweight – and burying fat is one of the last areas in which people think it is acceptable to make fun and entertain from others.
Obviously this is unacceptable. It is also incorrect – people can be thin and active and they still develop type 2 diabetes.
The time has come to break the stereotype of diabetes.
Insensitive comments and jokes about diabetes are extremely common in our society. When you listen to them, you begin to notice them.
Hudson and I constantly notice them.
With early release files