Alan Thicke Will Always be a Diabetes Dad

Alan Thicke is worried that he will arrive late to his venue, so he calls from the road for our telephone interview. Thicke, who stars with his family in the mock-reality television show Unusually Thicke, is racing to a venue in New Jersey to host a show called Dancing Pros Live.

“It’s like Dancing With the Stars, but without the stars,” Thicke quips.

Thicke makes time for the interview because diabetes is never far from his mind, even though his son, Brennan, is now fully grown and a medical marijuana entrepreneur in California. Thicke, who became known as the ultimate television dad in the 80’s sitcom Growing Pains, says that parents of children with Type 1 diabetes never stop worrying about their children, even if they no longer manage day-to-day blood sugar levels.

“I think he certainly knows I’m completely there for him,” he says. “I’ve put a lot of time and energy and money into promoting the cause and finding a cure for my eldest son.”

whitearms_3000pxThicke is a veteran of the diabetes research fundraising circuit, both for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and for the Alan Thicke Centre For Juvenile Diabetes Research at the University of Western Ontario. He often can be found promoting other causes, as well. He jokes that philanthropy can be a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” world; if he speaks at the events of other causes, others will reciprocate and speak on behalf of diabetes research. Philanthropy helps Thicke feel like he’s doing something to combat a frustrating condition that has impacted the life of his son.

“If you’re not doing something, you’re driving yourself crazy,” he says. “To me, it’s almost a selfish kind of therapy.”


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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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