To: President Donald Trump
From: “D-Mom” Moira, on behalf of all who live with diabetes
Re: “Her health. No good. Diabetes.”
According to multiple reliable news sources, you, while pondering how many Supreme Court Justice positions you will get to fill in your tenure, remarked that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s position would be one because, as you said, “Her health. No good. Diabetes.” With all due respect to you, Mr. President, you are misinformed and speaking off antiquated – at best – information. How do I know? Allow me to introduce you to some amazing people, one of whom is my daughter.
Let’s start with her. Lauren is 26 and as of this very week has been living with Type 1 diabetes (just like Justice Sotomayor) since she was 6 years old. Lauren lives right around the corner from you in DC and you very well may have crossed paths with her. Usually she’s walking to her job helping shape policy for people with ALS – she likes to walk rather than take the Metro because she’s healthy and fit, and because she savors every day of her what-will-be-long life. Or, she might have ridden her bike past your office while doing long training rides for her annual one-day, 100-mile Ride to Cure Diabetes event. That’s right – she can ride her bike 100 miles in one day – and so can and do so many of her diabetes world friends.
You may have flown over GWU medical center the other day when she was there for her endocrinology check up; the day the doctor looked over her labs and said she has the labs of a “non diabetic person,” despite 20 years of living with the disease.
You may have been sitting on your couch in the White House while, down the road a bit, she was dancing at a night club and laughing with her huge circle of friends, living and loving life no differently than those without diabetes. She’s normal. Healthy, happy, and normal. And she will be for decades to come.
Thankfully, she lives in the 21st century, a time when women are treated as equals in every way. Okay, I’m kidding there. But it is a century when diabetes is no longer a death sentence and when, for those living in a strong first-world country with affordable and accessible health care (ahem), a person with diabetes will live the same average life span as their contemporaries without.
Sure, it’s extra work, but people like Justice Sotomayor and my daughter – and millions of others with diabetes from small children to – gasp! – senior citizens who have now had it for decades, do that work without letting it stop them from doing amazing things in the world – like serving as a Supreme Court Justice, or working as a young and rising policy professional in DC.
And consider this: your word choices matter. What you said about Justice Sotomayor can—and probably will – impact how people perceive folks like my daughter for years to come. She already fights discrimination daily. (She’s not strong enough. Diabetes makes her weak. She might not be able to do the job someone without diabetes can do… All untrue). Now, your comment, writ large, will bolster that ignorant and completely wrong assumption.
People with diabetes compete in the Olympics (the regular Olympics. I know what you thought for a second there). They are CEO’s of huge companies. They are – imagine this? – leaders of nations. They are collegiate swim champions. They are stay at home moms and dads. They are superheroes and yet they are everyday folks.
I’m still hoping you just don’t know the diabetes of today. So here’s an offer: take a walk with Lauren. Get to know what she does and how well she does and why diabetes will not take her life early.
Maybe, just maybe: instead of bumming you out that Justice Sotomayor probably has decades more to live, it will instead open you up to a true understanding of how crucial good health insurance and medical care are, and how they’ve changed lives here in our great nation.