Monday, November 7, 2011

1 in 20...

This FULL PAGE advertisement was placed in both the New York Times and the Washington Post on 2 November 2011 by the JDRF in support of Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day on 14 November - and was announced to the JDRF community via the following Twitter message from JDRF CEO, Jeffrey Brewer (@JDRFceo):

"Today the T1D community speaks to FDA re AP thru full page ads in NY Times and Washington Post   "

Click on image to see original full size advertisement.

Understandably, this "in your face" advertisement has caused quite a stir!

According to Brewer (again, via Twitter - @JDRFceo):

"Lots of feedback on our ad & stated lifetime risk of death from hypo 1:20 or 5%. But research estimates range up to 1:10 or 10%"

Well, it's certainly putting it out there and has the T1D community Blogs talking!

Here are some links to just a few of the many Blog posts about this advertisement:

Okay - so, what do I think of this?

Well, I have been criticised in the past for scaring newly diagnosed families by providing information about some of the less than pleasant aspects of Type 1 Diabetes through posts on the parents support network that I founded shortly after Issie's diagnosis. And while I can see that this can be an issue for some families, the vast majority that I have come across are of the opinion that "forewarned is forearmed."

Following is a comment in response to my post about this JDRF advertisement on that Parents support network, and my concerns about posting information that may be upsetting or confronting to others - I note that this comment has been copied and pasted here with this particular person's express consent:

"That is a startling statistic.. but NEVER toss around information you have found.... if it is out there then I think we need to see it... after all information is power.. and we cant make positive changes in the D community if we don't have the knowledge to fight the good fight. It definately gives me something to think about and after hearing of all the new T1 angels this year this number really doesn't suprise me. We NEED to make a change to the way we look at this. After all what we have been doing is raising money and SOME awareness, but it isnt working how we want it too. Yes I know that the medical profession us our worst enemy so we need to start making more noise to get our voice out there.... I'm just not sure how to do it without becoming a "sob story" to the papers and scaring the hell out of new dx families."

Hiding from these very worrying and sometimes alarming statistics about this disease doesn't actually make them go away.

As parents of kids with ANY life-threatening medical condition we have a responsibility to arm ourselves with as much information about that condition as possible so that we can be alert to any potential problems and take steps to prevent them where possible and to act swiftly when, as often occurs with Type 1 Diabetes, even our best efforts at prevention are just not enough.

If a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes is not aware of the risk of death associated with hypoglycaemia would that parent act in an appropriate manner reflective of the potential seriousness of the situation? Probably not.

Parents of kids with Type 1 Diabetes are at the frontline when it comes to the care of their kids. Being on the frontline is scary and is not for the feint-hearted - but it is made so much easier if the enemy we are fighting holds no secrets.

Scare tactics? Perhaps - but if it results in greater awareness about the seriousness of this disease, not only among the non-T1D community but also among people living with this disease, who perhaps do not take it seriously enough or who may have become complacent - certainly not uncalled for.

Feel free to disagree.


  1. I completely agree with you. You make a great point in this post. By not being aware or closing our eyes to the facts of the disease, it doesn't make the risk go away.

    I hope that the ad does spread awareness as it was intended to do.

  2. Misty - it has certainly got people talking - and when it comes to raising awareness that is ALWAYS a good thing!

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