In a house that wasn’t hers, in a bed she’d never slept in, in front of people she’d just met, Tammy Gray excitedly sprung from her reclined position with the unflappable enthusiasm of a woman who had just chugged a six pack of energy drinks. Then, with verve and vigor, she proudly shouted out her line: “They say type 1 diabetes is supposed to keep me up at night!”
The room of people she’d just met shared a warm chuckle.
“That was great, Tammy, but maybe you could tone it down a little bit,” said the director. “Remember, you’re someone who just woke up.”
Tammy gave an aw-shucks smile and settled in for another take. It’s understandable why she was a bit amped up for the moment. That was, after all, her first time acting. She had so much energy and was so thrilled to be participating that it took about 10-15 takes for her to finally settle into her role as “sleeping lady.”
“Was it that obvious that I was excited?” she said with a laugh. “The other actors and the director were so kind. They were very patient with me.”
When Tammy finally did channel “sleeping lady,” she delivered her line with aplomb and authenticity.
“It was all like a dream,” she said. “It was so fascinating to not only be behind the scenes, but to actually be in front of the camera. It was such a fun experience, and everyone was so nice to work with.”
Tammy has been living with type 1 diabetes for nearly 31 years. And when the opportunity arose for her to participate in a commercial for the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology from Tandem Diabetes Care, she jumped at the chance. She’s been using the t:slim X2 insulin pump for almost five years and has firsthand experience of how it’s helped manage her diabetes.
Even a couple of years ago, Tammy, 50, wouldn’t have put herself out to the world like that. But after being diagnosed with breast cancer the day after Mother’s Day in 2020, followed by chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy, she vowed not to let opportunities slip away.
“I think being a cancer survivor taught me to really love life, savor opportunities, and not be afraid to try new things,” said Tammy. “You never know how many of those you have left. So, be in a commercial? Sure, why not?”
Fast forward to the spring of 2022. Tammy is on a video call and about to see the commercial for the first time. Madison, one of her three daughters, flanks her right shoulder and leans in to watch.
There’s an ear-to-ear smile on Tammy’s face as she watches herself sit up in the bed and deliver her line.
Her first reaction? Pure excitement.
“Can I watch it again, please?” she asked.
She watched it again. And then one more time. High schooler Madison hugged her mom from behind as she watched with a daughter’s pride.
“I love it,” Tammy said. “It turned out so great. It’s so strange to watch yourself. But what a neat experience.”
The commercial also included professional actors and was shot over two days in Texas. The creative team at Tandem Diabetes Care had put out a casting call to the greater Dallas area for multiple roles — including to pump users.
“When we organize a photo or video shoot, we try to feature members of the Tandem Family — people who use our products,” said Greg Rolnick, Creative Director for Tandem Diabetes Care. “Tammy’s energy and enthusiasm leapt off the screen in her audition video, and she didn’t disappoint on set.”
Tammy said she's had so much success with the t:slim X2 insulin pump helping with her diabetes management that she not only wanted to be in the commercial because it was a fun opportunity, but also because she believes in what the pump has done for her.
"It was life-changing," said Tammy. "Once you trust the system, everything opens up. My life is immensely better."
Her only goal from the commercial experience was to have fun, which she did.
And they said acting is supposed to be tough.
Along with all of the other actors, Tammy Gray was compensated with a talent fee for appearing in the commercial. However, she was not compensated for her participation in this blog post. The commercial was shot and produced by Stewart Cohen Pictures and edited by Indigo Post.
From time to time, we may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem insulin pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. Please note, however, individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.
RESPONSIBLE USE CONTROL-IQ TECHNOLOGY
Even with advanced systems such as the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology, users are still responsible for actively managing their diabetes. Control-IQ technology does not prevent all high and low blood glucose events. The system is designed
to help reduce glucose variability, but it requires that users accurately input information, such as meals and periods of sleep or exercise. Control-IQ technology will not function as intended unless all system components, including CGM, infusion
sets and pump cartridges, are used as instructed. Importantly, the system cannot adjust insulin dosing if the pump is not receiving CGM readings. Because there are situations and emergencies that the system may not be capable of identifying or addressing,
users should always pay attention to their symptoms and treat accordingly.