How Mary Tyler Moore Showed It Was Possible to Live — and Thrive — With Diabetes

The iconic TV actress was diagnosed at the height of her fame.

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Mary Tyler Moore, who died on Wednesday at age 80, left behind a legacy by changing how working women were portrayed on television. But there's another legacy she left behind that's just as important: Moore worked as a tireless advocate for diabetes research.

In an interview with the Archives of American Television, Moore explained that around the time when she was offered her own television show, she had a miscarriage. While she was being treated in a hospital, doctors discovered her blood sugar levels were shockingly high and diagnosed her with Type 1 diabetes. "Back then, nobody really knew what diabetes was," she said.

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She told People in 2009 that she wasn't sure of her future. "I thought I'd have to recline on a chaise the rest of my life," she said. "There have been challenges, but I've triumphed."

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Throughout her life, she was open about how diabetes was affecting her. "I've been a diabetic for about 35 years now, and I'm one of the very lucky few who has managed to live that long without having major problems," she told The New York Times in 2012. "I do have problems with my eyes, one eye in particular, and if I fall, I generally break a bone."

Moore became the chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and lobbied Congress for funding. She also wrote a memoir about her diabetes and starred in public service announcements to raise awareness.

"Mary Tyler Moore's legacy is that of a woman who tirelessly committed herself to helping the millions with [Type 1 diabetes]," the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said in a statement. "Over the past 30 years, Moore educated about and increased awareness of T1D around the world and raised millions of dollars for research that will one day lead to a cure." The group has set up a website for people to share their tributes to Moore.

After her death on Wednesday, admirers noted her passionate advocacy for diabetes and how she served as a role model for all who live with the disease.

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