I never thought I would work a 1997 My Way song title into the title of a post, but thanks to Usher, I have been able to.
I’ve seen a lot of people commenting and talking about the announcement by Usher that his child has type 1 diabetes. And for the most part, I disagree with a lot of what I’ve been seeing.
There’s been a lot of, “I hope he uses his celebrity status to advocate for diabetes” or “hopefully he will donate money to help find a cure”. I’ve also seen the, “what a sad story, hope him and his family are doing fine with the diagnosis”
The latter is what I think is the best thing that should be said at this time.
Christel wrote a great post yesterday and I recommend that you read it.
She basically wrote everything that I was thinking before I could type it myself. Focus on your child and the diagnosis and learning as much about the disease as you possibly can. I’ve just hit my 10 years living with the disease and I’m learning things almost every single day.
Let’s be clear about one thing though, just because you are a celebrity and you have a large network and reach, does not mean you have to be an advocate of anything. If you do not feel like being an advocate, don’t. If you are not advocating for the right reasons, then don’t do it at all. If your heart and passion is not in the advocacy world, then don’t do it! I have more respect for a celebrity that turns down endorsements and advocating for something just because they are being paid to do it.
Advocacy is not just putting your name on an event or a fundraiser. I live in the south Florida area, so I see a lot of news about Ray Allen, who plays for the local Miami Heat, and what he does with the local community and JDRF and DRI. His heart is in it. If he didn’t do these things, I would not lose any respect for him. Advocacy is not always easy, in fact, it hardly ever is.
This is not just about Usher and advice for just a celebrity with diabetes or a child with diabetes. This is for anybody that goes through a diagnosis, either themselves or a child. Focus on yourself and your family before you go out looking to help others. It’s not stingy, it’s what’s needed. Don’t feel obligated to do advocacy work. If you can do it, and your heart is in it, then absolutely do it. But don’t do it because it’s forced and something that you feel like you should be doing.