Diabetes is not a very understood disorder. Folks will eat a pack of gummi peach rings and jokingly say, “Ugh, I’m gonna get diabetes,” or hashtag a photo of a banana split with “#diabetes” on Instagram.
Madeline Milzark, an 18-year-old Missouri teen who lives with Type 1 Diabetes, got fed up with this common misunderstanding.
She told BuzzFeed News:
“I realized it was time to show people the reality instead of the perception that diabetes was simple, and just a disease where you avoided sugar… The thing people think caused my disease actually saved my life, and that’s what not many people realize.”
Milzark has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for 10 years, and last month, she collapsed when her blood sugar dropped. After regaining consciousness on the floor, she texted her grandmother who brought her sugar to consume — thus saving her life. Then, Milzark took this picture.
As Milzark explains in the viral post that has now been shared over 10,000 times, diabetes is not a disease caused by an extra slice of cake. It is a complex disorder that can affect any person with any diet. And sometimes, as is the case with a Type 1 Diabetic like Milzark, sugar is a lifesaver.
As noted by APlus, studies show that 76 percent of people with Type 1 diabetes feel stigmatized. That’s why this action by Milzark is so important.
Milzark is thrilled by the positive feedback and gratitude she has received since sharing the viral status, and is encouraging people to use the hashtag #WhatDiabetesReallyLooksLike to continue to raise awareness of the disorder’s realities.
She told BuzzFeed, ““All my life I’ve been wanting to help people and I’m finally getting a chance to do that. I’ve only gotten one negative message out of everything so far!”
Thank you to people like Madeline who are reducing the stigma attached to the health issues so many of us face!