An Open Letter to The BBC and Eastenders

 
My open letter to the BBC and Eastenders.
 
An open letter to the BBC and Eastenders
 

Dear BBC,

 

My son turns twelve in July this year, and two weeks after that will be the anniversary of his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. That will be seven years since he almost died from the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

 

Seven years of a minimum of four injections a day, seven years of multiple finger prick blood tests, seven years of having to weigh his food to calculate how much insulin to give him, seven years of sleepless nights, hypos (low blood glucose), hypers, hospital stays from simple childhood illnesses that his body can’t always cope with.

 

Seven years of people’s ignorance.

 

Understandably the average person doesn’t know much about Type 1 Diabetes, they don’t live it like we do and I can accept that. If I see something incorrectly written online on social media about diabetes, I gently correct people to try and make people more aware of the truth behind diabetes.

 

I don’t rant at them, and mostly things said by a random person who has no idea of what an affect Type 1 Diabetes (or any other type of diabetes) has on a person’s life doesn’t affect me. I accept that I can’t educate the world about Type 1 Truths although through this blog and online I do try in my way.

 

What I can not accept, is that the BBC feel it’s okay to make jokes about diabetes. Twice in recent months characters on Eastenders have made jokes or incorrect casual references to diabetes.

 

Eastenders is one of my guilty pleasures, I’ve watched it since I was a child but I feel very let down by you right now. Kim’s comment on there last night which was along the lines of ‘It’s not a kid’s party if they don’t go home with Diabetes’ was not acceptable. True it may fit with the character, but you wouldn’t make jokes about other health conditions or disability on there.

 

I don’t find it acceptable for such a high profile channel to make a joke out of a health issue that people die from, that people have to live their whole lives with.

 

Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by eating sweets, chocolate or anything else lifestyle related. Small toddlers who have never even tasted sweets are diagnosed with it. There is nothing that myself or my son could have done to stop him developing Type 1 Diabetes. Also Type 2 diabetes is not always caused by lifestyle.

 

You are tarring so many by the same brush undeservedly, but also even if the people out there whose Type 2 Diabetes was caused by lifestyle didn’t look after themselves….. do they really deserve to be mocked? NO ONE wants diabetes of any type.

 

It isn’t just you who make the mistake of not differentiating between the types of diabetes, or of thinking it is okay to joke about, the media are guilty of this too and other television channels. That doesn’t make it okay though, it really doesn’t.

 

This week my son has had a sickness bug… a simple childhood illness that for most means a snuggly sofa day and a sick bowl. For us it meant testing his blood levels constantly, testing for ketones which can be life threatening to people with Type 1 Diabetes. He had low blood glucose whilst still vomiting, this meant we spent hours battling to get him to a safe level.

 

We very nearly had to go to the hospital, this has happened with some past sickness bugs. Going into hospital involves having a cannula in his hand and a drip to help his blood glucose levels… he knows this, so whilst I was battling his levels, he was begging me not to take him to the hospital.

 

This is just an insight into what it is like to live with Type 1 Diabetes, yes I am sure many will say he could have ‘worse’ things, but that does not mean it is okay to joke about it. By making joky references to diabetes on screen, you are opening children up to bullying and spreading more ignorance.

 

Please I beg you, stop with the diabetes references in a negative joking way. My son is not a joke.

 

Kind Regards,

Stevie (Miss Stephanie Couch)

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104 Comments

  1. Linda
    24 February 2016 / 11:43 am

    Absolutely well said! Even type 2 can be genetic as it is in my family so fir the BBC to be making such ignorant statements like they have is astonishing. They need to do their research for once.

    • 24 February 2016 / 11:57 am

      Thanks Linda, and yes I totally agree no one wants diabetes and no one has an easy time with it, so to feel mocked is just awful. I’ve heard of loads of athletic people with type 2 and people who were on a medication or had a different health condition that caused it, no form of diabetes is a joke.

      Stevie x

      • Liz Fowkes
        28 February 2016 / 2:03 pm

        Hi Stevie,
        I would like to thank you for raising awareness of this awful condition. My husband suffers from type 1 diabetes and is that brittle he is waiting for a pancreas transplant. We have had many situations where people have blamed him for having low or high sugars. He too has been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions with either low blood sugar or ketoacidosis. He now wears an insulin pump and is on continuous blood monitoring sensors to try and keep him stable and safe until his transplant. After reading your letter we both said it is extremely hard for someone your sons age because children of that age just want to be able to live their life like their friends because unlike your son he has to be careful and constantly monitor his condition. Even pleasurable activities like cycling, playing football, going out to a disco or party has to be planned for because it can have such massive effects on a persons diabetes. Many thanks and I wish your son all our best for the future.

        • 3 March 2016 / 1:54 pm

          I really hope he gets his transplant soon, and Type 1 really can be difficult to control. My son does actually have to constantly monitor his condition and be careful at times, but I can understand what you mean with your husband most likely having to test more often than the every 2 hours during the day that my son does.

          I hope the transplant improves things!

          Stevie

      • Rachel Lea
        6 March 2016 / 9:51 pm

        Thank you for writing to them. I am a mum to two Type 1s. My son is now 20 and my daughter is 15. I am staggered to see how badly Diabetes is represented on TV. With everything thing our kids have to cope with because they are T1 the last thing thing they need is people watching TV, who know nothing about Diabetes, being told that it’s been caused by eating too many sweets.

        • 6 March 2016 / 10:13 pm

          My pleasure Rachel, I have to admit my partner does quite often pick up a cushion to pretend to hide behind when someone says something stupid about diabetes on tv ;) Really not acceptable especially from high profile programmes and this time I couldn’t just rant at the television

          Stevie

  2. 24 February 2016 / 12:04 pm

    What a heart felt and powerful letter Stevie. My father has diabetes and the last few years have been such a roller-coaster. Once he was admitted to hospital and the nurse accused him of being drunk – which was totally unacceptable – at the time his sugar levels drastically affected his speech/mood even so far as to say personality and it is this total lack of ignorance that can be so upsetting. He didn’t know how he could control it at the time and thankfully he tries to stay on top of it as much as he can now. When you think how popular a programme such as EastEnders is, you would expect the writers to think before coming up with such insensitive and darn right stupid snide comments that are hurtful and ignorant of what you go through daily. Thankfully there are people such as yourself who are able to shed light on Diabetes and educate people of how serious a condition it is. Becky xx

    • 24 February 2016 / 12:08 pm

      Thanks Becky, being able to use my blog and social media to raise awareness and clear up misconceptions means a lot to me, as do comments like this! Plus it’s a lot more constructive than yelling at the television like I used to …. and still do at times ;) Diabetes is not easy for anyone. I recognise the seeming drunk thing as my son is the same when his levels go haywire, he’s not in control of himself. Sadly often nurses and doctors don’t have as much training about diabetes as you’d hope

      Stevie xx

  3. Geraldine
    24 February 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Well said Stevie! Geraldine x

    • 24 February 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Thank you, after having a really rough week with him I think it affected me more than it usually would, but really wish tv programmes would check their facts and be aware of how hard diabetes is to live with – never a joking matter

      Stevie xx

  4. sarah
    24 February 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Well said, I don’t watch eastenders very often but I sat with my type 1 daughter last night and I couldn’t believe my ears when that comment was made.
    I found it disgusting.
    Sarah xxx

    • 24 February 2016 / 12:45 pm

      Thanks Sarah, I hate it when he hears things like this on tv he sometimes asks me if that means it is his fault or mine… obviously I set him straight but awful to see his face when it happens.

      Stevie xx

    • Jude Seviour
      24 February 2016 / 9:54 pm

      I felt exactly the same as you, my granddaughter was diagnosed type 1 in October 2014 and it changed all of our lives. I also couldn’t believe that comment last night. Why don’t these programmes do any proper research into conditions before writing trite remarks into their scripts. Any people with diabetes especially children have a lot to deal with and don’t need television making light of a life threatening illness. So come on script writers do your research properly.

      • 24 February 2016 / 10:10 pm

        Well said Jude, I couldn’t agree more! Diabetes really isn’t funny and I hope for their sakes they never have to see their children or anyone close to them go through it

        Stevie x

  5. Lynn
    24 February 2016 / 12:43 pm

    Well said. My son (13) was diagnosed T1 last June. He recently had his school immunisations and his bg levels rocketed. Testing for ketones and due to go on holiday, scared to leave the safety of his hospital diabetic team, was very worrying. No laughing matter I can assure the BBC. Of my 4 children he was the one with the healthiest approach to food. Certainly no sugar junkie. He preferred a bunch of grapes to a bar of chocolate every time. He was recently asked if he was still diabetic! Came home from that encounter exasperated, bless him. I think the likes of Eastenders could really help educate the nation instead of ridiculing.

    • 24 February 2016 / 1:40 pm

      Thanks Lynn, it really is a juggling act! Even 6 and a half years in I still feel that panic at the first sign of any illness and really nervous about holidays. We went abroad a couple of years ago to Mallorca didn’t let Type 1 stop us and it was an amazing holiday. I can handle ignorance form individuals who have no reason to have to know about type 1 – although I wish they did, but from someone like the BBC it is unacceptable. Apparently JDRF are on the case now and contacting them! :)

      Stevie x

  6. 24 February 2016 / 1:23 pm

    That’s outrageous to hear, Stevie. I have another friend with two diabetic children and to see what she goes through, I am full of both admiration and heartbreak for her. Shows like Eastenders have a responsibilty to be factual and sensitive to issues that cause heartache and worry for people. To use a comment like that, even if it was to illustrate a flaw in someone’s character is unnecessary and unacceptable.

      • Lucy
        26 February 2016 / 7:06 am

        Hi Stevie

        I completely understand your frustration. I have come across so many misconceptions in the 33 years of being type 1. I was really poorly controlled as a child not because my parents were doing anything wrong. A child with diabetes is hard work !!! Eventually in my 20s I got an insulin pump and can truly say this changed my life. I wish I had had one sooner. If your son isn’t on a pump I would def recommend, 13 years on I wouldn’t be without it. Good luck in your battle.
        Lucy xx

        • 3 March 2016 / 1:56 pm

          Growth hormone and crazy activity levels really do make it tricky to control type 1 in children, I am so pleased you’re now doing well. I love hearing from type 1 adults who are loving life :)

          Stevie x

  7. claire griffiths
    24 February 2016 / 2:20 pm

    I was really shocked to hear this Stevie while watching Eastenders , i would have thought they would know better x

    • 24 February 2016 / 5:32 pm

      You really would hope so! They’ve replied to some of the complaints saying that it was in character for Kim…. really feel that’s a rubbish excuse!

      Stevie x

  8. Judy Wolff
    24 February 2016 / 2:28 pm

    Very thoughtless and ignorant Eastenders. My son has had Type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years and it is a very cruel, unrelenting condition that no one understands unless they have to deal with it.

    • 24 February 2016 / 5:35 pm

      Definitely. This is why I can understand slightly ignorant comments from individuals as they don’t live it, but some one like the BBC really does have a responsibility to be careful with what they say and to get the facts right.

      Stevie

  9. Darren Cleary
    24 February 2016 / 2:49 pm

    I totally agree wiv everything you have said, the sleepless nights when hypos happen and the ignorance of people including health visitors in my 5 year old sons case. It was itv and emmer dale not so long ago and now this wiv waste sees it makes my blood boil. Especially the line he will grow out of it

    • 24 February 2016 / 5:52 pm

      Thanks Darren, we’ve had a rough week with ketones vomiting and constant stubborn hypos, so they annoyed me more than usual when it heard it last night!

      We know just how amazing and brave our little ones are!

      Stevie :)

  10. Lindsey
    24 February 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Well done for your emotional letter to the BBC, my daughter was diagnosed at 11 with Type 1 and my twin sister daughter at 11, they both are turning 20 years old this month, my mum became type 1 diabetic at age 10, she’s now 72. Trust me I totally understand your anger, and hope everything goes well for your Son when he starts his Career search, as being Diabetic is also a major player when perusing what you want to do later in life. My daughter would you believe is going to University, as long as she remain well. But she will probably have a pump fitted, so she can deal with the long working shifts. I tell you this, so you can consider the future. I never switch off, even though my daughters an adult, best wishes, Lindsey.

    • 24 February 2016 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you, I hope things go well for your daughter at University, my son constantly surprise me with how tough he is with al that he puts up with.

      Stevie x

  11. Jo taylor
    24 February 2016 / 3:17 pm

    I have shared your post on my Facebook page. I don’t watch eastenders but am appalled at what I hear. The other culprit is bloody Jamie Oliver. Never distinguishes between type 1 and 2. So infuriating!

    • Mark Parnell
      24 February 2016 / 4:27 pm

      OK to bash the Type 2s them Jo?

      • Jo taylor
        24 February 2016 / 5:35 pm

        Absolutely not, however to distinguish between the 2 diseases would be helpful. The number of times that we hear on the television that eating too many sweets, fatty foods and such like is the cause of diabetes (without specifying type 2) is unacceptable. I realise as this blog states that not all type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle BUT. Type 1 diabetes IS NOT caused by sweets . Having been asked why I let my son get diabetes and was it because I gave him too many sweets, LOTS of times, means that stupid comments such as the one on eastenders fuel the general ignorance of people who believe that lifestyle causes type 1 diabetes.

      • Jo taylor
        24 February 2016 / 5:40 pm

        Also read the other comments Mark Parnell, not just me saying that there needs to be a distinction.

    • 24 February 2016 / 5:59 pm

      Thanks Jo, I honestly think people like Jamie Oliver should leave mentioning diabetes full stop to people who actually understand what they are talking about. So may people with Type 2 diabetes have the condition through no fault of their own as well, very unfair for them to be slated in the media as well as it means people have a real lack of sympathy for diabetes full stop.

      Stevie x

  12. Sharan Adlem
    24 February 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I think what doesn’t help is when people watch it and believe it then repeat it, my son hears it every day at school you got diabetes from eating sweets and cakes he says no it’s not caused by what you eat, they hear a comment like on tonight’s show and think he’s lying and it is from eating sweets. My son is in full denial of his D and suffers with anxiety and depression so hates people even talking about him having diabetes and making jokes about it, he hates people thinking he caused himself to get D and hates having to correct comments about it. Some adults and kids are maybe better equipped to deal with the comments and can brush it off, educate the person even laugh it off, but people like my son just go into a shell and not talk about it at all. Would they have a joke with someone saying oh look at that bald guy I bet hes got cancer, no as its inappropriate just as it is joking about Diabetes but it seems celebrities, comedians, west end shows, TV shows think it’s funny making jokes about Diabetes, well its not funny for people who have it and their families its getting beyond a joke now the amount if times its bought up in the wrong context just for entertainment to supposedly make people laugh.

    • 24 February 2016 / 6:02 pm

      Thanks for commenting Sharan, I completely agree diabetes of any type is not a joke and I hate that it seems to be treated as acceptable to make jokes about it in the public eye. My son hates telling people he has type 1, and it really shouldn;t be like that.

      Stevie

  13. Sam Smallwood
    24 February 2016 / 3:46 pm

    As a mum of a type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at 23 months, now 3, your words really ring true & thank you for standing up and being counted.

    • 24 February 2016 / 7:09 pm

      Oh Sam, 23 months that’s just so little. My son was 5, the only plus side is that they don’t remember not being Type 1 which makes them more accepting of it or so I’ve found. Type 1 children are made of a very special kind of tough.

      Stevie x

  14. Mark Parnell
    24 February 2016 / 4:20 pm

    I am Type 2 my mother is my grandmother was. Diabetes has been getting a real bashing recently particularly by the BBC!?. And many Type 1s jump in to say it’s Type two thats Bad.. Thank you for sticking up for us all and not just the Type 1s

    • 24 February 2016 / 8:32 pm

      My pleasure Mark, I think the whole sugar tax thing has made things a lot worse at the moment as it’s in the media more for all the wrong and inaccurate reasons.

      I always try and be fair in my posts, as I know often type 2 isn’t caused by lifestyle and type 1 never is. Also even the people who do have type 2 due to their lifestyle really don’t deserve to be ridiculed, no one wants diabetes and no one finds it easy.

      Stevie

  15. 24 February 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Well said Stevie. The BBC should engage you as a screenwriting consultant before they make any more references to diabetes on their channels.x

  16. Julia
    24 February 2016 / 6:54 pm

    Thank you so much Stevie,
    My granddaughter was diagnosed T1 just before her second birthday. We nearly lost her. She’s now five and our little superhero. Every day is hard work keeping her level. No days off !!!
    I’m so sad that Eastenders got it so wrong. !!!! They need to come and live a day in our shoes!

    • 24 February 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Oh Julia, you had my eyes welling up then. My son was 5 at diagnosis and is very lucky to still be here, diabetes really isn’t easy but these brave children make it so much easier for us. I expect she makes you as proud as my tough boy makes me

      Stevie x

  17. Becki Sully
    24 February 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Hi Stevie. My 7 yr daughter was diagnosed last October and its still sinking in. I dont watch eastenders but having seen the comments on twitter last night i had to hear what was said. I was totally shocked. Mia doesn’t like sweets, she never has, so to hear that comment was unbelievable. The writers do so much research for other health issues they cover but they didnt think that was necessary for that little line. You hear on the news about type 2 diabetes because of peoples lifestyles changing but more awareness is needed for type 1. My daughter has fought this head on and i cant believe how brave she has been. I just hope people don’t presume that all diabetics have got this awful disease because they ate sweets!!
    These children should be praised with what they have to go through for the rest of their life. They truly are warriers!

    • 24 February 2016 / 9:07 pm

      They really are a special kind of tough aren’t they?! Definite proud mum moments :)

      I try to spread awareness whenever I can about the fact that type 1 diabetes is never caused by lifestyle or diet and neither is type 2 always, a lot of people get Type 2 from medications, medical conditions or genetics. I do hate how the media find it okay to make jokes, as no type of diabetes is funny.

      Stevie x

  18. 24 February 2016 / 9:17 pm

    Good on you for writing this and how dare the BBC let Eastenders make such a revolting comment in the show. I am pleased that this post has been read so far and wide x

    • 24 February 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Thanks Donna, I really hate that they seem to think this is okay! I feel better after writing this today, though I really did’t expect so many people to read and share it!

      Stevie xx

  19. Emer
    24 February 2016 / 9:30 pm

    I was trying to explain to a co-worker how I wished she had stayed at home with a tummy bug to-day and how I, with T1 Diabetes and my son also with T1 Diabetes could pick it up and how dreadful it is for us to do so, she dismissed me like I was an idiot, of all things a tummy bug is the worst, you need your insulin but you are vomiting everything up, tummy bugs usually mean ending up in hospital! This point besides, your piece is very well written and so true and you get the point across so clearly. Thank you for sharing!

    • 24 February 2016 / 10:08 pm

      Thanks Emer and yes tunny bugs are the worst! Luckily we’ve managed the last few times to not have to be admitted, but only through a lot of hard work from us and him being brilliant and drinking still when he really doesn’t want to. People just don’t get that a mild illness for them can actually prove life threatening to someone with diabetes

      Stevie x

  20. Kate Mahaffey
    25 February 2016 / 6:34 am

    I’m a diabetes specialist nurse and that was such a heartfelt letter to the bbc. I get very irritated by diabetes being wrongly interpreted on the TV, unfortunately it’s rare for it to be understood. There are not enough nurses like me to educate everyone let alone look after all the people who have diabetes! We need a diabetes awareness campaign….

    • 3 March 2016 / 1:58 pm

      Most definitely Kate and I have to say you DSN’s are a god send at diagnosis and onwards, you can really make the difference in those first few months as a support to the parents as well as the children.

      Stevie x

  21. Emma
    25 February 2016 / 8:06 am

    Great letter, my 11 year old daughter has bee. A type 1 diabetic for almost 4 years I totally agree with people not really knowing the effects type 1 diabetes can have on people I often find people with type 2 diabetes compare themselves and often people think type 1 is the same but really completely different. Love the letter well said xx

  22. Ms Angela Eren
    25 February 2016 / 10:08 am

    I was appalled by this on Tuesday because I am so sick of diabetes being the brunt of all the jokes about obesity etc & yes I want the public to know the truth about diabetes but the researchers for these shows need to get there facts right BEFORE writing diabetes into scripts. I have been a type 1 diabetic for 41 years & was diagnosed at the age of almost 3……I didn’t attend any parties wiith lots of sweeties previous to diagnosis.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:01 pm

      I feel the same Angela, in a type 1 group I am in I have read this week about a ten month old baby being diagnosed and that can hardly be blamed on lifestyle the poor little one. It’s now been reported that the BBC will consult with JDRF before any diabetes comments or stories in future :)

      Stevie

  23. 25 February 2016 / 10:28 am

    Way to go Stevie, great work! As you know I’m astounded that the BBC and Eastenders think it’s OK to make fun of children that are living with a life threatening condition. They are claiming that “Kim” isn’t a medical expert. That isn’t the point. It was a sick joke. For no other condition would this ever have got through the net. You don’t hear them laughing at Meningitis do you, why not? Because it would be sick and not funny and totally disrespectful to all those that have lost lives or suffered from these illnesses. I too have been overwhelmed by the response to my open letter, and if we don’t get the apology we deserve at least we have raised awareness.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you Andrea, I am so pleased we both played our part in publicising this and that JDRF and Diabetes UK got involved to make a difference :)

      Stevie x

  24. Katrina
    25 February 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Wow. Such a powerful letter. I was also disgusted by that comment. I myself have been living with diabetes for 13 years in November. I was diagnosed type 2 at 18 and treatments worked then didn’t work. I am now on insulin 4 times a day and 5 tablets a day. My sugar levels have been up.and down despite everything I was doing. I had a series of blood tests, 4 in 2 weeks and 2 came back I was producing a bit of insulin but not enough and 2 came back I wasn’t producing any at all which was then my consultant broke.the news that I am 1 of the 1 in 500,000 people.that are affected by having type 1 AND type 2. For me the daily struggles are horrendous. sometimes I have days where I am.constantly low and struggle to keep my sugar levels up others I am constantly high and struggle to bring them down others I am stable and other times I am up and down like a yo yo. Sometimes those who make comments or judge I wish could live for a week and deal with the struggles that we all do who have diabetes no matter what type. I hope ur son is feeling better now. X

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:09 pm

      I didn’t know you could have both types, had to do a bit of google research after reading your comment to learn more. So sorry you also have to put up with diabetes, no matter what type a person has or why it’s always unfair as it’s an unfair disease.
      No-one deserves it and certainly no-one deserves to be mocked for it. My son is over his illness thankfully and back at school, he makes me very proud :)

      Stevie x

  25. Sarah Eckworth
    25 February 2016 / 5:32 pm

    I no exactly how you feel. My son is 8 and was diagnosed 2 years ago. 5 injections a day, bloods tested every 2 hours!!! They have no idea what its like. Im disgusted some one can joke about something so serious.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:09 pm

      Me too Sarah, the BBC have agreed to consult with JDRF in the future though, so a small victory for everyone who got their attention on social media :)

      Stevie

  26. Samantha Duddy
    25 February 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Hi, well said. I have Type 1 diabetes and although I didn’t watch the episode of Eastenders, because I don’t watch it at all anymore, I read about it on a couple of diabetic Facebook groups that I am in. One of the posts detailed the reply people were getting from the BBC, it was basically saying that because people know that Kim’s character is meant to be dippy then it would be be taken light heartedly by people watching. They sort of apologised, but everyone who complained was getting the exact same response, which to me seemed like they just could not be bothered. I wish I could remember the exact wording of the email back but it did not seem good enough at all.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:11 pm

      I’m really pleased to say the BBC have actually listened and in future whenever they mention diabetes on Eastenders (and I hope other shows!) they will be consulting with JDRF. I think there was such a big outcry on social media and other places online that they actually listened for a change.

      Stevie

  27. Martin Davies
    26 February 2016 / 12:20 am

    The BBC are very poor !!!!!! take a look at what i got back

    Dear Mr Davies

    Reference CAS-3723472-P9Q110

    Thanks for contacting us about EastEnders.

    We’re sorry to hear you were unhappy with comments made by Kim about diabetes.

    Although we wouldn’t always condone the things our fictional characters do or say, it’s important for the sake of the drama that they be allowed to express views we might not agree with.

    Kim has long been established as a facetious character and her remark of “if kids don’t give themselves diabetes, it’s not a good party” was meant as a joke. We hope most viewers will appreciate that Kim isn’t presented as a medical expert and that she wasn’t speaking with any authority on the facts of diabetes. That said, your feedback has been noted and circulated to the programme makers.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    Kind regards

    Ashleigh McFarlane

    BBC Complaints

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:14 pm

      I know, I saw that response in a few groups they sent the same reply to everyone! Annoying, but since then they have bowed to pressure and have promised if they are to mention diabetes in any way again, they will consult with JDRF first which I am thrilled about. A small victory but a good one for everyone who got involved :)

      Stevie

  28. 26 February 2016 / 7:28 am

    A great post and well written from the heart, but with important facts. I watched that episode and whilst I don’t have any idea what it’s like to Live with diabetes, I was shocked by the comment. Why would you want to send anyone home with any type of disease! It was a very flippant comment, that was badly used by a TV show that should have known better. They have a responsibility to do the research. I hope this post lands on the desk of the BBC x

  29. 26 February 2016 / 7:44 am

    I don’t buy this, it’s part of her character excuse. This is simply mockery of people with a severe illness and the lowest form of wit, surely the writers at the BBC can come up with better jokes than this or maybe it is time they go some new writers? Well said Stevie.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:15 pm

      Thanks lovely, usually I let most of it go else I’d be stressing all the time over the small things, but with it being such a popular show and the comment being awful I really couldn’t

      Stevie x

  30. 26 February 2016 / 8:26 am

    This made me so sad Stevie. I don’t watch EastEnders, but I know lots who do. Its so popular. I don’t understand their thought process though – they take a lot of time over other issues (another blogger I know consulted with them on the recent post-partum psychosis storyline) and then use sloppy, lazy references to diabetes like this. It’s poor writing by slack writers. I’m glad you pulled them up on it! Crap like this perpetuates stupid half informed opinions (like when any ‘left field’ character is referred to, in passing, as Rain Man). #picknmix

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:17 pm

      Thanks lovely, a couple big diabetes charities put pressure on them after the uproar on social media and they’ve agreed to consult with one of the charities in future if they are going to mention diabetes in any way :)

      Stevie x

  31. 26 February 2016 / 10:47 am

    Fair play Stevie & very well said! I hope you sent this to them directly as well. I don’t watch East Enders but so many people do & they shouldn’t mock anyone with health issues as it is so widely viewed. I hope the BBC takes notes. #picknmix

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:19 pm

      Thanks Becky, they’ve agreed to consult with a big diabetes charity in future if they are going to make any cmments or do stories about diabetes :))))

      Stevie x

  32. 26 February 2016 / 10:52 am

    I don’t watch Eastenders, or any soap for that matter, but it does sound like they were inconsiderate. I think you’re right, not enough is known by the public about Diabetes and it is often thought of as caused by eating too much sugar. That’s certainly what I thought until recently. Thanks for sharing and raising the issue.
    #picknmix

  33. 26 February 2016 / 11:23 am

    Well said Stevie. I don’t watch Eastenders and I’m glad I don’t now. How irresponsible and careless of such a major television channel to allow lines like to be said. Mocking any disease or illness is never ok. I hope they see your letter and realise how tactless they have been.xx #picknmix

  34. 26 February 2016 / 4:07 pm

    Very well said, I missed the comments on Eastenders although I do watch it. My Mum and Mother in law has Diabetes, as did my Granddad, I had Gestational Diabetes so do know a little of what it is like living with it myself. I have friends who have children with Type 1 Diabetes too. Diabetes or any other medical condition is not a joking matter. I am shocked that they allowed this. Well said for speaking up x

  35. 26 February 2016 / 4:12 pm

    Well said Stevie! My grandad (mums dad) had type 1 diabetes and now my mum has type 2 diabetes. I’ve had gestational diabetes twice and have been told there is a high chance I will have diabetes when I’m 40. I’ve been told lifestyle may help me avoid it but not for definite. I don’t watch eastenders so didn’t see the comment but I’m shocked to read it. I hope they see the outrage they have caused X

  36. Karen
    26 February 2016 / 4:37 pm

    A brilliantly written letter. I have had type 1 for 33 years. I have witnessed bigotry and uneducated comments, and received many too. But really, in this day and age, with knowledge of the condition so much better than 30 years ago, I find it dispicable and disappointing that we still get situations like this. The BBC should know better.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:20 pm

      Definitely agree Karen and thank you! They’ve agreed to consult with JDRF in future when making any comments or stories about diabetes which is brilliant :)

      Stevie

  37. 26 February 2016 / 4:52 pm

    i think it’s a shame when people make fun of such serious illnesses. By my own admission i don’t know all that much about type 1 diabetes other than the odd thing here and there plus what I read here on your blog. i am lucky to not know as it shows I have never had to go through it! I do know that it is not a joke though and well done you for speaking up for your son and others. #PicknMix

  38. 26 February 2016 / 6:53 pm

    Very well said. As you know we live with Type 1 diabetes too and it’s amazing all the misconceptions there are out there. I hope you have sent this to the BBC! #picknmix

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:22 pm

      Thank you lovely, the BBC have agreed to consult with JDRF in future for any diabetes comments or stories which is brilliant :)

      Stevie x

  39. 26 February 2016 / 7:54 pm

    Well said. I can’t begin to understand how it is for you and your boy. Your an amazing mum and this letter proves it, your trying to change perceptions got him! Thanks for hosting #picknmix xx

  40. 26 February 2016 / 9:17 pm

    Well written and I actually hope you get a reply too. I hope your son has made a recovery without going to hospital, I feel for you both so much and you do so much to raise the awareness of type one diabetes #picknmix

  41. 27 February 2016 / 12:04 am

    I haven’t watched Eastenders since I was a kid. But I agree with you. I think there is a general attitude that diabetes isn’t very serious, that comes from people knowing it can be managed, but knowing nothing about what that entails or the complications of the condition, and incorrectly inferring that ‘manageable’ means it is not dangerous or is not incredibly hard work to manage. &, yes, so many people have misconceptions about why people have diabetes, especially type 1, that lead to a load of jokes that are not actually accurate, never mind questions of taste. I’m sure you’re right – Eastenders probably wouldn’t put in jokes about other lifelong conditions, so this should be no different. #picknmix

  42. 27 February 2016 / 8:39 am

    Well done for sharing this. Eastenders are actually in my good books at the moment because they are doing such a great job of the Postpartum Psychosis storyline but I must admit I didn’t notice the diabetes reference and that is very much not okay and offensive.

    If they can take the time to consult on perinatal mental health then they should be taking the time to consult or educate themselves on ALL topics. Thanks for sharing. #picknmix

  43. Simon Bartholomew
    27 February 2016 / 4:24 pm

    I can sympathise with your thoughts as a parent of a seventeen year old daughter who was diagnosed at 5 with type 1. For years we have battled with ignorance, my daughter has always been underweight but still it hurts. I even heard the health minister on radio talking about the menace of diabetes being caused by bad diets and children eating too many bad foods with no reference to different types. Children who feel they have to hide their condition due to such comments because they fear ridicule can be put in danger!!!!.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:24 pm

      I heard the same minister another time doing the same… very frustrating! The BBC have agreed to consult with JDRF in future for any diabetes comments or stories so a small victory :)

      Stevie

  44. 27 February 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Very well written letter Stevie and I wholeheartedly agree with you. As Laura mentioned above, Eastender’s storyline has been fascinating and educational and its a shame they’ve let themselves down by throwing this offensive joke in there. I’ve yet to see this episode but theres no doubt I’ll pick up on it now x

  45. Kelly Robinson
    27 February 2016 / 8:51 pm

    What a horrendous thing for you and your family to love through, I couldn’t imagine the pain you must feel each time you have to inject your son. I do feel your irritation towards soaps when it comes to medical references. My son was born 10 weeks early and was in special care for almost 7 weeks. I watched every soap, within a year after having my son, do a premmie baby story line. Every single soap played it out all completely wrong! I felt a lot of it was insulting to mums that had or were going through it. I do think that researchers and writers need to research properly into a subject before filming it as it can be extremely upsetting to watch. #PicknMix

  46. 28 February 2016 / 9:48 am

    Well done Stevie for raising awareness and making into The Daily Mail too! It’s a shame that they didn’t think it through and offended people who either have or have to deal with diabetes. #PickNMix

  47. 28 February 2016 / 1:43 pm

    I already shared this on Twitter but I will say again how awesome I think you are. I hope the BBC sit up and take note! #picknmix xx

  48. 28 February 2016 / 4:00 pm

    How true, and all power to you for highlighting these ignorant mistakes! as a Mum to a newly diagnosed 5 year old, this is already close to my heart and i feel there is some real progress to be made in terms of education around type 1 diabetes. so many common myths and old wives tales, ridiculous! Great writing!! #doonediabetes

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:26 pm

      Sorry to hear you had to join the type 1 parents, my son was 5 as well. After 6 and a half years he still makes me so proud every day with how he copes, they’re amazingly tough these type 1 kids! The BBC have agreed to consult with JDRF in future for any diabetes comments or stories :)

      Stevie x

  49. 28 February 2016 / 10:55 pm

    Great writing Stevie, you’re so right in what you say – they wouldn’t mock other disabilities or illnesses in the same way. It’s only because people are generally quite ignorant to how diabetes really affects people, that they feel this is okay. It’s really astonishing and I’m sure you’re not the only one who noticed. Well done for raising awareness of this – let’s hope the BBC change their ways soon xx #Picknmix

  50. 2 March 2016 / 11:05 pm

    Well done Stevie on such a good letter to the Beeb. Such an important issue and with all the money they can throw at research, things like this just shouldn’t happen these days. Did you get any kind of response from anyone at the BBC? *wishful thinking* Thanks for hosting! Kathy x #PicknMix

  51. 3 March 2016 / 1:54 pm

    I do not watch East Enders because I live in the U.S., but it sounds pretty disturbing with what they said about diabetes. My husband is type 2 I don’t think it is his fault. It is genetic because his mom has type 1 and has had it her whole life. He was just diagnosed this last summer and all of our heating habits had to change. I almost lost him due to his numbers being so bad, but now he is back to normal with talking medication, and should be checking his blood sugars everyday but he is struggling with that every day. Thank you for writing this blog post. It means a lot to me.

    • 3 March 2016 / 2:28 pm

      My pleasure Nicole, no diabetes is easy to live with but I’m glad he’s getting back to ‘normal’ and really hope he has a long and healthy life to look forward to

      Stevie x

  52. 3 March 2016 / 8:17 pm

    As you know I think you are doing amazing things for raising awareness and challenging these unacceptable behaviours is the only way people will change. Shame on the BBC xx

    • 3 March 2016 / 11:04 pm

      Thank you sweetheart :) The BBC have agreed to consult with JDRF a big diabetes charity in future when they mention anything to do with diabetes – so happy that they listened with some pressure online and from the charities

      Stevie xx

  53. 8 March 2016 / 4:52 pm

    It’s awful that they would have that in a soap! I’m guessing the writers don’t know anyone with diabetes and how hard it can be. I’m really glad that your post has attracted attention and got people thinking more about what it’s really like to have Diabetes. #picnmix

  54. Richard
    25 November 2016 / 8:37 am

    I physically cringe and have written in to the BBC news on half a dozen occasions when they have conflated T1D and T2D together or failed to make the distinction in reports. The BBC news has an educational / fact based remit that shouldn’t make these errors, yet regularly does. I got one reply saying it was made clear in the item, but their clear and mine as someone who has been T1D for 38 years are very different. It’s shameful in any BBC output that this isn’t dealt with sensitively and appropriately. Good for you for flagging this.

    • 25 November 2016 / 9:29 am

      Thank you, I can accept the average man not having a clue about Type 1 and saying something completely wrong without realising, but someone as big as the BBC well then it frustrates and angers me in equal measures.

      Stevie

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