Mary Tyler Moore - first champion for diabetes research 

She was loved by millions as an actress and comedienne. 

But a more important role that Mary Tyler Moore held was off-screen, as the first - and only - celebrity advocate for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Moore died on January 25 at age 80 from cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia. For years she had suffered from complications from the diabetes.

Soon after her diagnosis, she became a staunch champion, and one of the only faces in , who advocated for more funding and research into the disease that afflicts 1.25 million Americans.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1969 and was the first, and few in Hollywood, to advocate for research. Here, Moore testifies in 2009 at a senate hearing on the need for federal funding for Type 1 Diabetes

Actress Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1969 and was the first, and few in , to advocate for research. Here, Moore testifies in 2009 at a senate hearing on the need for federal funding for Type 1 Diabetes

Towards the end of her life, Moore was suffering from several complications including a benign tumor, the inability to stand and almost total blindness. She is pictured here in 1970 - one year after her Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis

Towards the end of her life, Moore was suffering from several complications including a benign tumor, the inability to stand and almost total blindness. She is pictured here in 1970 - one year after her Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis

Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1969 at 33 years old.

After checking out of a hospital, where she had been recovering from a miscarriage, a routine blood test revealed her blood sugar levels to be abnormally high. 

Normal levels fall somewhere between 70 and 110 - Moore's was 750. She kept the results secret at first.

'Back then, nobody really knew what diabetes was. My concern about talking about it was that it would be distracting for an audience,' she said in an interview with the Archive of American Television.

She had already made a name for herself with leading roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the '60s and '70s.

But she quickly made a name in Washington where she routinely promoted the need for research for juvenile diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is necessary to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and accounts for only five percent of all diabetes cases.

The most common form is Type 2, formally called adult-onset.

Moore began volunteering for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 1984 and soon became its international chairwoman. 

She raised millions of dollars through various functions and appeared several times in front of Congress where she lobbied for further funding.

Moore appeared several times on Capitol Hill and pushed for research funding that would eventually lead to many now-common diabetes tools. Here she speaks to child delegates and parents in 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Moore appeared several times on Capitol Hill and pushed for research funding that would eventually lead to many now-common diabetes tools. Here she speaks to child delegates and parents in 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Moore discussed regularly about how she was very careful with what she ate, how she exercised and that she tested her blood sugar regularly. Here, she attends the 1994 Carousel of Hope Ball to Benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes

Moore discussed regularly about how she was very careful with what she ate, how she exercised and that she tested her blood sugar regularly. Here, she attends the 1994 Carousel of Hope Ball to Benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes

WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system destroys cells in your pancreas called beta cells. They're the ones that make insulin.

The body does not produce insulin, which is necessary to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. 

Blood sugar levels constantly need to be modern and sufferers need to give themselves insulin

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