Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dear Mr. Hanks

I was saddened to hear the news about your diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  I’m sorry that you have joined our ranks.  You see, I am one of the millions of people who have type 2 diabetes too.  I was diagnosed in 2005 and have spent the last 8 years educating myself about this disease and the myriad ways to control it.  

You impressed me, and lots of others in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), with your knowledge of the different types of diabetes. Thank you for that. Too many media outlets and celebrities get it SO wrong.  However, there were a few things that I read in the articles covering your news that trouble me.

First of all, in your attempt to assure your audience that you are ok, you downplayed the seriousness of type 2 by emphasizing that type 1 is a really, really serious thing.  You’re right; it is.  But so is type 2.  

Next, you made it sound as if controlling type 2 is simple.  Having lived with this disease for 8 years I can attest to the fact that it is not simple.  Yes, exercise and a healthy diet go a long way to helping to control diabetes but dramatically changing one’s diet is never simple.  Millions of Americans are faced with poor nutritional choices on a daily basis.  Fighting against that machine is a battle that is doable but never easy.

My plea is that you will continue to educate yourself about this disease and use your celebrity to help dispel so many of the myths that surround this disease and hurt people every day.  We are not a bunch of fat, lazy slobs.  We do not deserve this disease.  It is a really, really serious condition.  There is a vast online community of people with diabetes, all types.  I hope that you will reach out to us for support and encouragement.  No one should go through this alone.


Kate, a fellow T2


  1. What a beautiful and kind post, Kate!! Type 2 diabetes TOO is a serious disease.

  2. That was beautifully written, Kate. I hope that Hanks finds us all here, willing and able to support him. I think that for him, resorting to a new diet that is just perfect for him is something accessible. I like your point that for the vast vast majority of people, a rigorous change in diet is not so tangible. Thank you for your letter to him. I will write one too and blog about it. Way to kick things off right!

  3. Excellent points! Thanks for writing this, Kate!

  4. Kate! Thank you so much for the post! You are so right, Type 2 Diabetes is just as serious and important. I have friends & family members with Type II diabetes, and I really want to understand it more. So for my senior project, I chose to do research on Type 2 Diabetes. Would you be willing to fill out this survey to help me better understand it: I promise it won't take long. Thanks for helping me better understand so that I can help my friends & family! -Imani

  5. Reading your blog early in my diagnosis has helped me understand the difficulties I might face with a type 2 diagnosis. I am a diabetic. Losing weight has helped me regain control of my life but I did not fall in the obese category to begin with. I'm a few pounds from the Dr recommended weight for my height.

    The reality of diabetes can be devastating if left out of control. Regardless of the type. As someone with type 2 I know my diet, activity level , weight and medication plays a part in my success or failure. Early in my diagnosis I didn't know stress and infection could raise it.


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