Injecting Movies with Type 1 Diabetes

What if Hollywood blockbusters included more characters with diabetes?



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Frozen…Insulin

Diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, Princess Elsa of Arendelle was taught by her crass father, the king, to keep her hands covered with gloves so nobody would see the small scars from repeated blood glucose tests. Elsa also can make snow come out of her fingertips, but no one really cares about that.

Hearing rumor across the land of a possible cure for diabetes, the king and queen set sail. Months go by, yet the royal parents never return. (Truth to tell, Elsa might be better off without them.)

Eventually crowned queen of Arendelle, Elsa still struggles with displaying her diabetes in public. At the coronation party, a small drop of blood spreads on the fingertip of Elsa’s white glove and guests take notice. Frightened of what they’ll think, Elsa flees, leaving her sister behind, and escapes to the snowy mountains. Free for the first time, Elsa tosses her gloves to the wind, but forgets that her insulin would be unusable if it freezes. It is up to her sister, Anna, to bring Elsa insulin in an insulated pack and try to convince her to return to the kingdom and educate others about Type 1.
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E.T.T1

After an extraterrestrial is stranded on Earth, he must survive new horrors like child-Drew Barrymore’s cuteness long enough for his alien brethren to rescue him. However, unbeknownst to his newfound human friends, this alien is suffering from diabetes. He attempts to communicate with them, but “E.T. phone home” apparently does not translate to, “Please prick my finger and test my blood sugar, I think I might be running high.” Will his new friends figure out how to work his meter in time?

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Titanic Bolus

Young and aristocratic Rose boards the RMS Titanic and falls in love with Jack, a charming, but poor, artist with diabetes. But even within the small confines of the ship, Jack shows Rose a carefree life she never knew possible, teaching her about his condition along the way.

During a midnight stroll on the deck, Rose notices symptoms of Jack experiencing hyperglycemia (remember – he shared a lot about the condition). She rushes off to his room to get his insulin and manages to bring the supplies back to him just as the mammoth boat collides with an iceberg. In the confusion, Jack can’t remember if he counted carbs right for the amount of insulin he injected.

Will Jack’s glucose levels sink like the doomed ship, or will the two escape death?

(Spoiler Alert: Yes they escape the ship and Jack counted his carbs just fine, but Rose selfishly man-spreads herself on a floating wardrobe and lets the supposed love of her life disappear into the abyss.)

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A ragtag team of college students comprise the Barden Bellas, an acapella group recovering from an upset at last year’s nationals—one of the female leads, Aubrey, passed out on stage from an untreated low. The judges totally didn’t understand Type 1 diabetes and were jerks about the low, so the Bellas lost the competition.

Now, the team must work extra hard to restore the Bellas to their former glory. Newcomer Beca suggests Aubrey use a CGM to better track her glucose levels. At first reluctant of this, as well as Beca’s other plans to perform nontraditional mashups at competitions, Aubrey eventually decides to stop making up aca-scuses and get on board with the new ideas to make a stronger team. But will her newfound attitude be enough to combat their biggest competition, a crowd pleasing all-boys acapella group that boasts killer vocals, a taste for modern music, and sexual tension?

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Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of a high fashion New York magazine, takes a young aspiring writer with no concept of fashion (or bangs) under her wing. Despite her flaws, the young girl has potential, and like Ms. Priestly, the girl also has Type 1 diabetes. However, Miranda manages to keep the disease on the down-low by wearing a CGM and a pump while the twentysomething secretary unashamedly pricks her finger at her desk as she pleases.

Tired of living a lie, and sick of being embarrassed by her condition, Miranda soon realizes that while she can impart style and luxury to her new assistant, perhaps the girl can teach her a great deal in return.

(If we’re making up movies to have characters with diabetes, we can just change the ending, too.)

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.