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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dear Ricki Lake,

I have known you for a really long time.  I remember your talk show...I remember your weight loss...and I remember your natural birth experiences.

We have a lot in common, you and I.  There was a time in my life that I was a certified Doula.  As a young first time mother, I prepared all of my baby's first foods from scratch using organic fruits and veggies.  I nursed that sweet baby from the time she entered the world until just before her second birthday.  In fact, I went on to breastfeed each of my younger daughters well beyond their second birthdays...and that included a year of tandem nursing, since the younger two are only 16 months apart.

Yeah.  We have some common interests, my friend.

Listen, Ricki.  I admire the way you're taking on the obesity epidemic in children.  I admire that you're trying to give parents practical tips and information about how to provide healthy environments for their children.  I appreciate that you're using your personal experiences and turning them into a positive outcome.

Seriously.  That rocks.

Unfortunately, you made a comment on Good Morning America this morning that suggests that "Juvenile Diabetes" is related to obesity and can be prevented.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that what you said isn't true.  I'm sure you're already well aware that there's a huge difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.  I'm sure you're aware that my child must receive multiple injections of insulin via an insulin pump that she must wear 24/7/365 in order to SURVIVE.  I'm sure you know that she would be DEAD within a week without the insulin her life depends on.  I'm sure you know that, as her mother, I didn't do anything to cause this.


Hey, I'm sure it was just a slip of the tongue on live television.

The problem millions of people heard you say that "Juvenile Diabetes" is a preventable disease.  (And...I'm sure you're aware that it most definitely is NOT).  In this turbulent economy, it has become very difficult to raise money for causes such as CURING TYPE 1 DIABETES.  It will be a crying shame if one person hears your comment and decides they will no longer support a CURE for Type 1 Diabetes.

A cure for my daughter.

The same one I prepared those baby foods for and nursed for 2 years.  And that Doula career?  After she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, it all had to stop.  Finding on-call childcare at the drop of a hat to attend someone's else's labor is difficult.  Finding it for a diabetic 2 year old who requires strict carbohydrate monitoring, advanced skills for recognition and treatment of blood sugar problems, knowledge of how to calculate an insulin dose and then administer it via injection...well...that's just downright impossible.

If all I had to do was make some dietary modifications and increase my child's activity level in order to prevent, treat, or cure her TYPE 1 DIABETES, then you can bet I would have done it by now.

Thank you for doing whatever necessary to clear up this misinformation.  And, by the way, if you feel like making a financial contribution to an organization that is actively pursuing a CURE, that would be awesome!  Since you used the term "Juvenile Diabetes", I think the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is a great place to start.

God Bless,
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  1. wonderful post Wendy, education goes along way. With every comment that is made hopefully someone somewhere learns a few things about type 1 diabetes. It would be wonderful if Ricki would support the JDRF :)

    Keep advocating, you rock!

  2. Right on, Wendy. Wonderfully and tastefully written!

  3. Good post. But I'm not sure Ricki Lake did know. There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the differences in the two types. Childhood obesity is a very hot topic these days.... Looking around at a family gathering recently, my aunt commented on how very thin all of the young people in our family and extended family are and how, clearly, we don't have to worry about childhood obesity. But we do worry about Type 1, which is a much more serious issue. Sadly, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the celebrity in question to correct their error publically or privately. Thanks for writing to her.

  4. are amazing. That is the best post ever.

  5. You should send a copy of this to Riki's publicist

  6. Amen! Thank you for speaking for all of us Wendy. Your voice is our voice. Love you!

  7. This is a wonderful post. I can only hope she reads it, or at least gets the message. I'm sure it WAS a slip of the tongue - not realizing that Juvenile is Type 1 and thinking it simply means children with Diabetes.

    I agree - this should be sent to her publicist and anyone else who may be able to get the link to her to read.

  8. Great job! I love this letter, it shows her mistake with out calling her a bunch of rude names. It calls her out with respect and I think the world needs more of that. There is a right way to advocate and educate and this is a great example of that!

  9. Great job, Sweet Mama!
    I am SO proud of you!!

  10. Great, great letter...I just wish it didn't have to be written.

  11. Wonderful, well worded, tasteful, and all those other superlatives I cannot think of. Please tell me you sent this to Ricki. How great would it be for her to step up, admit her mistake and make a difference with a significant donation and public service announcements, etc. Maybe give you a call and have you on the show with your daughter...dreaming of the possibilities. Not that you would want fame, but with such a well worded letter, I am sure you would do a great job representing.

  12. Amen. A slip of the tongue isn't really an excuse when the media so inaccurately portrays diabetes anyway.

  13. I take my previous comment back! Very impressed with Ricki Lake admitting her error publicly. Letter writing campaigns to Oprah re Dr. Oz misstatements have failed in the past, and as for Halle Berrie.... well...... Great job all the Moms who wrote in and called.


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.