The next time you suddenly can’t remember why you just walked into the kitchen holding a glucometer (Did somebody say they wanted a snack? Was I about to do a BG check? Did I just do a BG check??), it may be time to ask, “What would Dory do?”

Wise beyond their years (and species), Disney characters seem to have an uncanny appreciation for what it takes to navigate life, parenting, and… somehow, inexplicably, even type 1 diabetes.

Dory, the spirit animal of enthusiastic but scatterbrained caregivers, isn’t the only one with surprisingly prescient advice for D-parents. (You just know Mary Poppins gets it.) Read on to remember 11 times Disney characters could have been talking about type 1 diabetes.


“The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.”

—Timothy Mouse, Dumbo

“My son’s diabetes is something that I will never stop wanting to take away with every ounce of my being. I also know that his diabetes teaches him responsibility, independence, and resilience. The very thing that we all worried would hold him back from doing what he wants in life may be the same thing that is giving him the skills needed to achieve his dreams.” —Lorraine, Colorado, mom of 21-year-old Andrew

Snow White

“Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.”

—Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“My attitude toward diabetes has a profound impact on how my child views her T1D. In the beginning, I could tell that her fears were magnified by my tears and sadness. If her mother was acting like this, then it must be really bad! So I’ve made a conscious effort to turn it around. The future is bright, and my daughter is living a healthy, happy life… with diabetes. If she has a bad day, I let her know that it’s going to be okay. Attitude is everything!” —Teresa, Buffalo, N.Y., mom of 10-year-old Anna

Pocahontas and Grandmother Willow

“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.”

—Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

“These are words that are really hitting hard as our son enters his teen years. We’re trying to teach him the importance of taking time to perform checks and count carbs in his foods when eating out with friends. We get that it’s not easy with peer pressure and feeling like he sticks out, but it’s the RIGHT thing to do, and we’re trying our best to get him to see this. How I wish he could talk to Grandmother Willow!” —Jean, mom of 14-year-old Aiden


“The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work.”

—Tiana, The Princess and the Frog

“Isn’t this the truth? The middle-of-the-night checks, the calculating and recalculating, the doctor’s appointments, the school meetings, the highs and lows: Taking care of a child’s diabetes is hard work! But I think every D-parent knows there’s simply no other way to reach our goal: a healthy child who grows up to be a healthy adult.” —Molly, Fort Myers, Fla., mom of Cara

Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin

“You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

—Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh’s Great Adventure

“This reminds me of when my almost-5-year-old has breakdowns about his diabetes. He has had T1D for a while now, and there are moments when he tells us that he is done with diabetes. Or he wants to know if he will have it forever. It’s hard to explain that there is no cure right now, and for now, yes, he will have it forever. In those moments, we remind him of how brave and strong he is. It helps.” —Michelle E., Texas, mom of Cole

Beast and Lumière

“You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring.”

—Lumière, Beauty and the Beast

“I want my daughter to know that her health is important enough to take care of anytime and anywhere. She doesn’t need to hide in a bathroom when she performs a meter check. Being bold and daring with type 1 diabetes means not letting the disease control her. There’s no reason to hide that she has T1D. She should be proud that she is taking such good care of herself!” —Tracy D., Lynn, Mass., mom of 12-year-old Alexis

Dory and Marlin

“When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!”

—Dory, Finding Nemo

“No matter how high or low your child’s blood sugar goes, or the difficulty of the situation you’re facing — a difficult site change, burnout, needle fears — you just need to push through and keep going with your child’s management. When I see an out-of-range number and then go about correcting it, I often discover that I am singing these words to myself!” —Danielle, Newton, Mass., mom of 9-year-old Andrew

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

—The Emperor, Mulan

“We’ve met so many wonderful families in the diabetes community, through support groups, walks, and camps. There is a special connection that forms when D-parents and D-kids get together. Diabetes is an unbelievable bond. The friendships that have bloomed for me are some of the closest I’ve ever had. My daughter has friends who I know she will stay in touch with for life. In the midst of how difficult diabetes can be, these friendships are a beautiful thing!” —Liz R., Bryn Mawr, Pa., mom of 19-year-old Erica


“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”


“After my son’s diagnosis, this was me. My heart was grieving, and the future looked bleak. As time went on and I began to see my son bouncing back and adjusting, a little dream took hold that someday life would feel normal again. That’s all I wanted. Forget Prince Charming and a castle, I just wanted to feel a reason to smile. I started to believe that we would get there. If I had to point to a day when I found my ‘lost glass slipper,’ it was the day that my son returned to his soccer team. We cheered and yelled when he scored a goal. It’s been a dream come true to see him be able to do everything he loves.” —Suzanne, Long Island, N.Y., mom of 12-year-old Ben

Mary Poppins

“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

—Mary Poppins

“Was Mary Poppins the caregiver to a child with type 1 diabetes in another life?? We actually sing this song when our son is low and needs to sip some juice to correct. And of course, this saying applies to all those moments when it helps to give kids a little reward or perk to make a certain task a bit easier. When I need to change an infusion set, for example, the ‘spoonful of sugar’ might be a smartphone game app that will distract him until it’s over.” —Sharon, East Brunswick, N.J., mom of 11-year-old Joey


“The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.”

—Remy, Ratatouille

“No matter how much we count and calculate, there are always those moments when I check my son’s meter and my jaw drops. ‘How could he be high?’ ‘Why is his number so low?’ We correct, and I try to figure out what’s happening. So often it’s something that I never could have anticipated, like there was a fire drill during lunch so he couldn’t finish eating, or he’s coming down with a cold. As much as I can, I try to do my best and stay ready to react and respond to any out-of-range number that comes our way.” —Alyssa, Massachusetts, mom of 8-year-old Keith

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

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