Community News
November 10, 2017 By Tim Clark
Why we have to stop blaming people with type 2 diabetes

I was born to a poor family; my parents were alcoholics. I was taken from my parents at an early age and placed in foster care. I was always quite fit: I played basketball, hockey and soccer, and sang. I grew up from age 10 in what appeared to be a normal family. For the most part it was. We grew up on a farm. We worked hard and were provided with lots of food as a result of our high [level of] activity. Back in the ‘80s we did not understand nutrition very well and were taught to eat what was made and put in front of us. I was small and was underweight in grade 10 when I met my wife.

Due to some troubles at home, I moved out on my own in 1989 when I was in grade 12. I had to work and study, and provide for myself. I survived on cheap food and began to gain weight as I had little time to play sports and was no longer working on the farm. In 1997, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

I believe that heredity, childhood, financial challenges and family makeup play just as large a role in creating the disease as personal decisions. That it is time for us as a society to realize mental health is not all controllable by the person living with mental illness. That disease is disease – how someone broke a leg is not an issue in the treatment of the leg. We don’t admonish them to maybe not fall into a hole and break a leg in order to try and save money in the health-care system in our country, so why do we say people can and should be held to a different standard when they face type 2 diabetes?

I support the need for nutrition education, so people can make great choices in their lives and become healthy. I hope you would agree that the children of the world need to be better cared for, which will go a long way in preventing type 2 diabetes. Why does a Big Mac meal cost way less than a salad and chicken breast? Why does healthy food at the store cost way more than processed and cheap alternatives? Please, next time you seek to ask someone what type of diabetes they have remember, a person is important regardless of the cause of the disease. Let’s just support and treat it, and work hard to look at all the things we can do to make life better for all new generations and reduce the future numbers of those facing diabetes.

Tim Clark was born and grew up in Halifax and then on the South Shore region of Nova Scotia. He had six brothers and sisters, and now lives with his wife and three children. He worked in radio broadcasting and as a business owner. He performs and records music, and has worked most recently for a community radio station as a weekend anchor.

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