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Celebri-Ds: Spotlight on Celebs with Diabetes

Some well-known advocates working behind the scenes

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

For the second year, the DOC came together to participate in Diabetes Blog Week – and I can say that I am truly inspired by everyone who blogged about diabetes. Through the event, I continue to learn via individual participants. Day five of D Blog Week stood out to me – the topic was “Awesome Things” and it centered on the great things you do! A few of the inspiring things DOC members shared were: being a part of the DOC, making great friendships, meeting a celebrity and much more.

After viewing some great pictures of people you’ve met, I got to thinking – how many celebrity advocates does the diabetes community have advocating for awareness, education and research? I did some digging and found there are a number of celebrities who not only speak openly about their diabetes, but who also actively engage in the community. Here are a few of the celebrity advocates I came across:

Actor: Alan Thicke – Known for his role on the TV show “Growing Pains,” Mr. Thicke’s son Brennan, now in his 30s, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4. Alan supports JDRF as well as other diabetes advocacy organizations.
Actress: Jean Smart – Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 13, Ms. Smart didn’t allow it to interfere with her love for acting. Most likely known for her role on “Designing Women,” Jean is an Emmy-nominated actress and diabetes advocate.
Actress: Mary Tyler Moore – The actress, diagnosed with type 1 in the 1970s around the launch of her popular sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” has been an advocate for people living with diabetes and serves as the international spokesperson for JDRF. Ms. Tyler Moore has also testified in front of Congress for more diabetes research and funding.
Musician: Randy Jackson – Judging singers on “American Idol” isn’t the only thing Randy does well – he also has an extensive music career. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1999, he leverages his position in the spotlight to promote diabetes prevention and awareness. He has also served as spokesman for the American Heart Association’s campaign, The Heart of Diabetes.
Supreme Court Justice: Sonia Sotomayor – Passionate about law from an early age, Ms. Sotomayor has led nearly every level of the judicial system. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 years old, and became a great example of people who live with diabetes when she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009. Sonia spoke about her journey with diabetes for the first time at JDRF’s Children’s Congress this past June.


These are just a handful of the many celebrities who live with and advocate for diabetes; but, we also know there may be even more inspirational people in your daily lives. Who inspires you? Let me know who and tell me why by leaving a comment below.

All the best,

Laura K.

Photos credits
Alan Thicke photo: © Glenn Francis, via Creative Commons license

Jean Smart photo: By watchwithkristin via Creative Commons license

Mary Tyler Moore photo: Photo by Alan Light via Creative Commons license

Randy Jackson photo: By Ken via Creative Commons license

Sonia Sotomayor photo: WhiteHouse.gov: Sotomayor Bio: Pictures from Throughout Judge Sotomayor’s Life

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