Reality TV Does Much for Diabetic Awareness: Diabetic celebrities were recently celebrated as newsworthy. Both are musically inclined and both competed on national television for the honor of being selected as top contestant on their respective shows. One took first place while the other was runner up. Two lives, two separate shows, one common theme. Diabetes.
Bret Michaels, lead singer for Poison is a Type 1 diabetic. He struggled as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice with his health and was ultimately admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment. Although weakened by his condition Michaels arrived as one of the final two contestants on the show. In the end he was selected as Donald Trump’s apprentice. His award? Michael’s was able to present his charity with $390,000. His charity? The American Diabetes Association (ADA).
According to the ADA Michael’s “chose the American Diabetes Association as his charity during this season of “Celebrity Apprentice.” The money that Bret has raised on the show will help support the American Diabetes Association, leading provider of diabetes camps.” This doesn’t take into account the platform Michael’s was able to use to bring awareness to the disease through national television.
Michael’s wasn’t the only musician vying for top spot in a reality television series. The second is also a musician who suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Her name is Crystal Bowersox and she sounds a bit like Janice Joplin. She was a crowd favorite on American Idol from day one, but in the end she was runner up. However, if history is any indication sometimes the runner up ultimately has a greater career than the winner. Only time will tell.
Bowersox struggle with Type 1 diabetes was honored at a church in her hometown of Elliston, Ohio. Trinity United Church of Christ in Elliston played host to weekly viewing’s of the cities favorite daughter. Ellison itself is said to have fewer than 20 homes, but by the time the season finale aired there were more people at the church than live in the town. The church developed special shirts in support of Bowersox and to date they have sold 4,000. Bowersox has also inspired the church to do more. They have provided support to local Diabetes Youth Services.
There aren’t many who have followed American Idol that aren’t aware of the fact that Bowersocks was a diabetic. Her talent, like Michael’s was strong enough to bring her to the top of list of competitors. Bowersox has publicly stated that she counts it a priority to use her new notoriety to help spread the news about diabetes.
Michael’s has been dealing with a brain hemorrhage and a “warning” stroke. He now plans to under heart surgery for a newly diagnosed hole in his heart.
In both instances of Celebrity Apprentice and American Idol two key contenders have done much to raise awareness of what has become a growing phenomenon. While there are fewer people who live with Type 1 diabetes the television shows have helped to demonstrate that the disease is something that an individual can both live with and still succeed in amazing ways.
By association the appearance of Bowersocks and Michaels has provided the opportunity for individuals to gain a greater awareness of Type 2 diabetes. The successes represented by these two artists should spark some encouragement in those who are diabetic. Yes, there are many things that need to be taken care of in health management, but life doesn’t have to end following a diagnosis of diabetes. Perhaps that’s the best message these artists have brought to the American public.