“…but I have triumphed” Vale Mary Taylor Moore

Melinda Seed writes for Twice Diabetes

I think many of us are feeling sad to hear of the death of type 1 celebrity advocate, Mary Tyler Moore(MTM). She was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 33 and died on January 25 at the age of 80.

I remember reading about MTM having diabetes when I was a kid and there were articles written about her in Conquest (or whatever it might have been called then). ¬†She was slim and glam and despite being a tv celeb she always seemed more real to me than the other diabetics I read about in Conquest. These featured diabetics were invariably suffering fairly awful complications OR were male athletes. MTM as a smart savvy independent woman (who can tell where roles and reality merged or separated) was a perfect example of somebody just trying to get on with diabetes to me. I recall reading her say that having a condition that didn’t make her feel ill meant that for some time she ignored it and sat in her car eating donuts. It was the first time I’d seen something like that in the po faced articles that appeared (and still do as far as I know) in diabetes mags. Her¬†honesty coupled with the hint of the mind games that are at the heart of diabetes was such a refreshing hit of reality, one I wouldn’t see again until the advent of the internet some 20 years later.

The type 1 community also owes MTM a debt of gratitude for her advocacy work over many, many years. It would have been easy for her, particularly when first diagnosed, to conceal her diabetes in fear that it would jeopardise being cast in future roles. Instead she chose to be open and honest-and perhaps that is an even greater thing than her work with JDRF.

My favourite recent quote from Mary is from an interview with People Magazine in 2009 and it is something that I wish all of us with type 1 can say:

“There have been challenges, but I’ve triumphed.”

Vale Mary Tyler Moore, may you rest in peace and rise in glory and may light perpetual shine upon you.



2 thoughts on ““…but I have triumphed” Vale Mary Taylor Moore

  1. Ditto Mel, MTM was a hero to me…and indeed, she lent her star power to type 1 diabetes, many stars would choose to remain silent about their illness, yet she lent her name to many research, fundraising and media events. In the end, her T1D rendered her with little sight, damaged kidneys and heart problems, and would have ultimately added to the pneumonia which she died with.

    I wonder who is going to advocate for our cause, now that MTM has gone? RIP Mary Tyler Moore, I loved your work, and thank you for all you did, for me, and the T1D community around the world.

    I hope one day Mary, I can celebrate with you, when the cure for type 1 diabetes is found, and, like you, I will throw my hat up in the air, like you did in the busy street, and I’ll play that iconic theme song to your TV show, “You’re gonna make it after all…”

  2. Mary was the person who brought Type 1 diabetes into the open, when many of us felt ‘ashamed’ of having an illness that nobody could see, and very few wanted to understand. Her career and her advocacy went hand in hand for many years, and every pwT1d should be grateful for her life. Ave atque vVale, MTM. (Hail and farewell).

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