When actor Tom Hanks revealed in 2013 that he had type 2 diabetes, a wave of validation washed over the diabetes community: “Wow — even him, too?”
In the summer of 2022, while promoting a new film, Hanks shared some challenges of sticking to his diet. However, rather than beating himself up for veering from his eating plan, Hanks said he recognizes that “falling off the wagon happens to everyone.”
“The important thing is to resume healthy eating,” he said. “If it happens, move on, because if you get stressed, your blood glucose levels will go higher. You’ve got to be kind to yourself.”
Two things happen for us when a celebrity opens up about their health struggles.
First, they help destigmatize diabetes. The condition becomes more visible and relatable. Suddenly, we see our friends and family changing their attitudes toward diabetes and even toward us.
Second, we feel empowered by the will of celebrities to step forward and take control of the narrative about their condition under intense media scrutiny. When they show the world what it means to live with diabetes, they offer a road map and inspire confidence for how we might do the same.
Whether famous or not, any individual who publicly acknowledges their disease performs a brave act in the face of the stigma of chronic disease.
On DiabetesTeam, the online social network for people with diabetes and their loved ones, more than 123,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Is there a notable person who has inspired you? How do you feel about celebrities discussing diabetes? Share in the comments below or post on your Activities page.