(with any luck there???ll be a small video embedded here, which has a lovely quirky ambient soundtrack, and which explains what the pancreas is and the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes ??? to provide a bit of background listening)
I work at Diabetes UK and don???t usually ???advertise??? work stuff on my blog but I thought this was important, and I got permission to do it. When I started working at Diabetes UK in November 2003 diabetes wasn???t as … er, popular… as it is now (1.4 million who had the condition compared to 2.8 million, or more likely 3.5 million with ~850,000 of those having Type 2 but not knowing that they have it).
In the Science Information Team we were trained back then, when replying to people, not to reply to anyone through the normal postal system (franked and logo-stamped) if they???d asked a question on a topic that was particularly confidential in case family members were alerted. Some people would specifically ask us to send information in plain envelopes, even if the info wasn???t related to anything ???embarrassing??? or awkward.
When emailing people we???d always use something generic like ???Re: your enquiry??? in the subject just in case. Looking back, probably we were a bit more subterfuge-y than was absolutely necessary but many people really were anxious about people knowing they had diabetes.
Numerous school children with Type 1 diabetes have had an uphill struggle to get themselves on school trips and might find themselves treated differently from their classmates. Adults with Type 1 diabetes are excluded from a number of jobs and there???s still quite a lot of stigma and blame attached to Type 2 diabetes despite the fact that one???s family history / genetics appears to exert a much greater pressure than it does in Type 1 (if both of your parents have Type 1 you have a 30% risk of developing T1, if both parents have Type 2 diabetes your risk is 75%, see page 8 of 21).
So… I expect there may be a number of people reading who have kept their diabetes secret and Diabetes UK wants to find out more. I imagine they???ll do that thing where they silhouette you and modulate your voice or get an actor to do it. I don???t know, I???ve not asked J
P.S. This is being posted to two of my Posterous blogs, sorry if you end up reading it in two different places.
Have you ever kept your diabetes a secret or know someone who has? If so, we want to hear from you!
For Diabetes Week 2011 Diabetes UK is raising awareness of the importance of talking about diabetes and needs your help. We are looking for people to share their experiences with the media about why they may have had difficulty talking about their diabetes in the past to make people understand how important this issue is.
?? Have you kept your diabetes a secret to avoid discrimination, feeling different, because you were embarrassed or know someone who has?
?? Or, have you or someone you know opened up about your diabetes and been discriminated against as a result?
If you have ever been affected by this issue or know someone who has then please get in touch. Perhaps you have been in touch with a supporter who has a strong reason for keeping their diabetes a secret or has been discriminated against because of their condition? We would really appreciate hearing from people affected by this issue to help us tackle the problem.
You do not need to be named so your experience can remain completely anonymous if you would wish. If you are able to help please provide us with details about your experience by filling in our online media volunteer form at the link below:
For more information please contact Katie Power, Diabetes UK Media Officer, on email@example.com or 020 7424 1164.