Hi my name is Gina - regarding the T1 name change debate, here's my take on it, for what it's worth...
In 2007, Diabetes Australia (head office - ACT) with the help of Govt funding, enlisted a PR company to relaunch the DA brand and alert the community through media releases and ad campaigns, of rising Type 2 numbers, because it is costing the Govt too much in the health budget. T2 has always been the largest group (850,000), while T1 is in the minority with a measly 120,000 of us.
However, the correct type of diabetes was conveniently or unintentionally (depending on how cynical you are) left out of media releases. Hence, lazy journos (all apologies to my good friends who are journos), simply read out what was on the press release. The PR company was only doing it's job. So were the media, who were dictated the issues of rising obesity causing diabetes, and covered it extensively, (stories claiming that we can "prevent" diabetes, sold newspapers and got the tv ratings up tenfold).
My other point is, where was the equivalent amount of money spent on T1 diabetes? NOWHERE. I am not having a go at DA (well, maybe just a little), but merely pointing out why and how this misconception in the community has been perpetuated in recent years. And it's not going away. The message has been created. The damage has been done.
DA's "awareness" campaigns do not help T1D. In fact the national website for DA relaunched in 2007, showed a new logo. Have you seen it? It's an arrow in a semi-circle shape (designed to illustrate, (and I quote the publicist here), "how we can turn around diabetes!") What? Turn around diabetes? If only we COULD turn around T1 diabetes! Silly us for not eating healthier and living better lifestyles when we were 10!!!! ;-(!
So Type 2 has replaced Type 1's urgency for a cure with "you can prevent diabetes"! Let's rally together and get the media, health professionals, celebrities, (in fact just everyone you know) to simply PREFACE "diabetes" with the correct "type" of diabetes when referring to it. Simple.
To change the name is unfortunately just way too hard, (can you imagine the task of changing it worldwide?). But then again who, when and how did it change from "Juvenile diabetes", or "Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM for short)? If we send out a media release to absolutely everyone, along with all our stories and even signatures (a petition maybe?), imagine what we will achieve? Possibly an earlier cure? We're almost keeping this illness (T1D) alive, by being so healthy, capable and high achieving young adults (old in my case), despite our UNpreventable type of diabetes! Remember that saying, "It's the squeaky wheel that gets fixed."!
Nowadays, I can't even sit down and relax without reading a paper, watching TV or listening to radio without some report about the "obesity epidemic/junkfood diet/couch potato lifestyles/weight control/lack of exercise all causing 'diabetes'". Can't they just say Type 2 diabetes? Can't they just stop showing the same tired old images of fat people eating hot chips in the street? Can't they do their research?
I'll leave you with some gems triggered by the diabetes stigma that's now so prevalent in our society........"Oh, you look too healthy to be diabetic!", "Oh, do you inject insulin - you must have it really bad then?", "Oh, you have diabetes, but you're not fat?", "Is it in the family?", "My grandmother just got diagnosed, she was just too fat", and my fave one from well meaning but misinformed colleagues at work ................"Should you be eating that?" Arrrgh!
Type 1 for 32 years, (recently had a kidney/pancreas transplant and am currently compiling a book on my experiences as a T1D since 1976) I will not let the last 32 years have been in vain, and I intend to see a CURE in my lifetime (!), and particularly, an END to this ridiculous media concentration on Type 2. I don't want others younger than myself to go through what I went through.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!