Author, motivational speaker and former host of the show “Forgive or Forget,” Mother Love, brought her Bus and Truck Tour to the Blue Cross/ Blue Shield Auditorium in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University.
Mother Love spoke to students, faculty and staff on the effects of living with Type 2 diabetes on Thursday.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990,” Mother Love said. “I am a living witness that diabetes is not a death sentence.”
Mother Love said that she wanted to come to the campus to educate young people about the disease.
“When I was young, no one ever talked to me about it,” Mother Love said. “It’s absolutely imperative that we learn as much as we can, so that we can beat this. If our ancestors can survive slavery, we can beat diabetes.”
During her speech, she spoke on her life’s struggle of watching members of her family die before the age of 60 from the disease.
“My father died when he was 39-years-old,” she said. “My mother and my sister went blind and have now died from diabetes because no one wants to talk about it.”
When she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Mother Love said that she was 228 pounds and continued with her same lifestyle.
“I quit smoking in January 1990 and by April, I had gained 40 pounds,” Mother Love said.
Mother Love said she was at an Emmy party when she realized that a change needed to be made.
“I went home after that Emmy party and I was so tired,” Mother Love said. “I felt like I was about to die. I told my husband that I had to do something because this weight is killing me.”
She has since lost 111 pounds, started a walking club and makes trips around the country to educate people on diabetes.
“I was not trying to be the poster child for diabetes,” she said. “But someone needs to speak up about it. We need to use all of the resources available to educate ourselves.”
Before leaving, Mother Love gave the audience advice on how to make lifestyle changes.
“Start by taking baby steps. Find something that you like to do, like swimming or walking, and do it,” she said. “You have to take a proactive role in your health. Realize that you can do it and do it. “You didn’t get the way you are overnight, so you can’t completely change overnight.”
Amy Hinson, a Senior Diabetes Care Specialist for Novo Nordisk, Inc., was one of the people responsible for helping to bring Mother Love to Tallahassee.
“She has been a speaker for Novo Norkisk for about a year,” Hinson said. “She is just an outstanding public speaker.”
Jennifer Harrison-Hauer, a health educator for Student Health Services, was a liaison that helped secure the building to bring Mother Love to FAMU.
“She was informing and entertaining,” Harrison-Hauer said. “I really enjoyed it.”
Mother Love’s biggest supporter, Kennedy Rogers, her husband of 35 years, travels with her to all of her speaking engagements.
“By becoming a partner with her, we want to show families that this is not one person’s disease,” Rogers said. “Families need to get involved and change their life styles together to break the cycle of diabetes.”
Mother Love will be speaking in Gadsden county Friday evening.