What is a “CWD?”

You’ve probably heard the term “PWD” which is short for “person with diabetes.” But “CWD?” It stands for “character with diabetes.” Characters who have a variety of diseases and conditions appear in movies, television shows and books all the time. But diabetes is rarely mentioned even though it’s so widespread and serious.

Why is this? Maybe it’s because writers are afraid of alienating diabetics by presenting them unfavorably. After all, people commonly believe a stigma that blames us for getting the disease in the first place and then not dealing with it like uninformed people think we should. Or maybe it’s just too complicated to explain quickly enough to give viewers/readers the knowledge needed to understand the CWD’s situation and how the disease affects it.

Sometimes I’ve wished people could appreciate the decisions and actions diabetics think about and take every day. A little education could erase the stigma and generate the respect responsible diabetics deserve. But CWDs are rare critters that, if anything, are likely to be depicted in times of diabetes-related trouble.

There are some exceptions. A Cure: A Novel About Diabetes by Dr. H. Peter Chase has characters who struggle with the disease and work on a cure. Author K.J. Howe wrote Skyjack, a thriller that features a diabetic hostage negotiator.

PWDs do extraordinary things with a degree of difficulty that’s lost on non-diabetics. It would be wonderful if more CWDs painlessly informed them.

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