My Diabetes Connect

Birmingham’s Guide

to local diabetes resources

add a resource get updates ask a question login

Taking Control of Diabetes: How 3 famous women live with diabetes



(No Ratings Yet)

UPDATED: 3.7.13

Suggest Edits 


By: April Agne, MPH (March 2013)

Many women live strong, healthy and happy with diabetes. However, these women struggle day to day like many individuals living diabetes. Here we recognize their stories of struggle, triumph, and strategies to manage their diabetes.

 Patti LaBelle, singer/author/actor (age 68, Type 2 diabetes)

Patti LaBelle, a legendary signer, was diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago.   During an interview with People, LaBelle talks about her struggles with her diagnosis. LaBelle’s grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle suffered from diabetes and, due to complications, her mother’s legs were amputated. “My uncle went blind because of it and he died,” she says. “So when the doctor told me I was a diabetic, I was like, ‘No, no, no,'” she says. “I cried.” “You can take hold of the situation,” she says. “I feel great now. I live the right way. I wear fierce clothes. God has blessed me. Everything I do now, I do it proud. I am a divabetic!”(1)

Learn how to cook healthful foods with LaBelle, check out her cookbooks like Patti Labelle’s Lite Cuisine, at your local library.


 Mary Tyler Moore, actor (age 76, Type 1 diabetes)

In a 2009 USA Today interview, Mary Tyler Moore talks about her diabetes. “You’ve got to always plan,” she says. “It is a fact of life that if someone invites you out to dinner you have to think, ‘What are they going to be doing when they serve you dinner? How quickly are they going to get it on the table from the time I arrive? When should I take my shot? What should I eat of what’s available?’ “(2) Moore describes the challenges of a changing schedule and varying meal times that led her to keep a syringe of insulin ready at all times.  Want more stories on how Moore lives with diabetes? Grab Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes to learn more.


Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice (age 58, Type 1 diabetes)

“[Diabetes] is really a fundamental part of me. It’s part of my body; it’s part of everything I do all day long,” says Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in January during an interview with NPR.(3) She goes on to say that for years she hid her disease from everyone. As a justice, Sotomayor openly talks about her diabetes, recognizing the importance of letting people know her diagnosis, so that when something goes wrong, they know what to do.  Get her book, My Beloved World, to learn more about her life and diabetes management.

Learn more about Patti LaBelle, Mary Tyler Moore and Sonia Sotomayor’s stories by checking their books out at your local library!


  1. Barker, KC. Patti LaBelle: My Struggle with Diabetes. People, 12/19/2008. Accessed: 2/18/2013;,,20167126_20248033,00.html
  2. Brophy Marcus, Mary. Mary Tyler Moore tells how she took control of her diabetes. USA TODAY, 3/25/2009. Accessed: 2/18/2013;
  3. Totenberg, Nina.  A Justice Deliberates: Sotomayor On Love, Health And Family. NPR, 1/ 12/2013. Accessed: 2/19/2013;