Season 5 Episode 6
Location: Tuscon, Arizona
Addiction: Eating disorder – Eats things he most certainly should not eat as a diabetic. Also, he seems a bit addicted to attention and to being sick.
What’s memorable: “Sometimes I think he just wants to be the sickest one in the house.” – mother with MS and Lupus. The whole thing with him going out with friends from work and being all excited about having some people to hang with, and then no one shows up…that’s just depressing as hell. Poor guy, so embarrassing to have that happen on camera. Is he suicidal because he has no friends or does he have no friends because he’s suicidal? I hope he’s ok now.
Update: Sadly, John passed away on September 30, 2014. Read more here.
Official Synopsis: John has type one diabetes but refuses to be diligent about checking his blood sugar, or taking his insulin. A social misfit and an outcast for many years, John wants to be considered a regular guy, and pretends to be one by eating whatever he wants without regard for his illness. He has been in a near-coma and hospitalized multiple times. His parents want to stop enabling his self-destructive behavior, but won’t kick him out of the house because they fear he’ll die without their supervision.
Original Air Date: January 2009
Is there an update on John?! My heart truly broke for him. I would love to reach out to him and become his friend. How do we contact him? Is there a way he can just contact me?! He seems like he would be such a good friend. He just needs someone to talk to, who he can open up to, who he can go out with and have a good time all while keeping himself in check and healthy 🙂
My son is 18. Diagnosed at age 2. I saw this episode about John. It was if i was watching my own son to a degree.
My son sees a counselor. It doesn’t help. We are literally watching him self destruct before our eyes. There is nothing we can do. And my fear is that in the next couple of years I will be burying my son.
I HATE DIABETES!
Praying for you and your struggle. I hope your son saw the episode. Maybe that would help. Hope he is doing better now.
John past away from a heart attack on the 30th of September 2014. John joined a Facebook group for diabetics called “madeulookforacure” he found friendships around the world from England, France, Belgium, New Zealand and with me in Australia. I have been over to Tucson and spent three amazing weeks with his family and another friend from the group who lives in Iowa. He is greatly missed and was a amazing young man who has gone to soon, He is missed from around the world! The person who did this write up has made assumptions that aren’t correct!
I teach at an Ivy League college, and so I teach many students exactly John’s age. Watching this episode, one thing that struck me about John was how exceedingly intelligent he seems. Of course, this is just a hunch based on a short, heavily edited TV show, but it’s a strong hunch.
Andrew I am John’s (“JJ” to me) Aunt…You are soooo right he was very very smart!! Sadly he passed away Sept 30th 2014 from a heart attack as a result from complications from diabetes. We miss him dearly but he finally got it and was doing what he needed to do to manage his disease and he did VERY VERY well in college!! He had many people who wanted to hire him as soon as he was ready ( he was dealing with a lot of health issues) Anyhow you are spot on he was very very intelligent!!
Thank you for your kind words.
John C passed away on September 30, 2014. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tucson/obituary.aspx?n=john-carstens&pid=172694580&fhid=2499
Wow. Thanks for posting. How very, very sad. Any idea what caused his death?
from a heart attack
Where do I even begin? This angers me! I get that he had an “eating disorder” he was a diabeitc and refused his treatment. He died from a heart attack? I don’t believe that was the cause of his death. I believe he died from lonliness. It broke my heart when he went to meet up with friends at a restaurant and NO ONE showed up- I cried. It’s pretty clear he gave up and was acting out and being self- destructive. His mother is ill, I too suffer from SLE (lupus) and it is debilitating at times. This is just so sad. I only wish he knew there were and are people who care and are willing to help… GOD bless his family – hugs
Hi Bobbie, I am one of johns friends and now am very close to Lori and her family. If you would have known John closer to his passing you would have known that he was doing much better with his diabetes. He found a group that he belonged to and that truly cared about him for who he was on the inside. John was a fighter and went through way more than any of us should ever have to go through. He did NOT pass from loneliness. If anything he was one of the most loved people I knew. He knew there were people like us out there, unfortunately he had so many illnesses over his lifetime that created the perfect storm. We will never forget John and what he meant to our family. <3
Hi Kristin. Glad to hear this man had good friends supporting him. Did anyone ever establish who those jerks were who stood up John at the restaurant? Were they from his place of work. Part of me wishes they were publicly shamed. On a happier note, I recall in an update that John made social connections and connected with a
girl friend, which was nice to hear.
A heart attack occurs when the muscle is weakened from long-term abuse. Usually, when someone with an eating disorder passes away, it IS a coronary event of some kind. One example of this is Karen Carpenter. After years of poor nutrition/poor circulation from Diabetes, micro-tears are created. There is a condition called takotsubo cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome. A combination of both could have been the case for John.
This was my greatest fear . I am absolutely so heart sick and broken . I woke up my son and gave him the biggest hug I ever have in my life. This episode put my in a deep depression and I begged he would get better . John I am so very sorry .
To his parents I am so so sorry . You will be in me deepest thoughts . Please be strong and know people who did not even know your son cared about him and he touched their hearts .
To my nephew we love you and miss you dearly! Thank you for being the loving and caring person you were! Love You, Miss You, Mean It!
Karen please know I still think about your nephew ( I am almost positive you were the one that responded to my response on YouTube ) . I actually have put my sadness and thoughts to a better use as I educate others about Juvenile Diabetes ( my friend was diagnosed at 12 so I helped with her ) and even when I just get groups of 10 people I educate them on what to look for . I also educate on the denial or even grief process that comes along with such a dire diagnosis in the young and teens and what they face with the diagnosis. I figured tears are allowed but helping others is needed . It is so needed where I am from .
I will always cry for and mourn John as his story had a profound effect on me but I will not forget to celebrate his life . Beautiful young man taken way too soon.
Shalom to your entire family
I can’t believe I never saw this before today….I don’t get notifications so I am sorry I never responded!! Thank you for sharing how you are helping in the diabetic world that is truly amazing and awesome & I know JJ would be thrilled too to know that he had a small part in that!! <3 We still struggle with missing him and it just doesn't seem fair but we try and find ways to honor him and help others in the process! Thank you again for sharing and caring!!
Karen (JJ's aunt)
This is the one episode I can’t watch a second time, especially now after knowing John has passed away.
Watching John’s story broke my heart into a million pieces… Typically Intervention doesn’t make me cry a whole lot (with the exception of a couple episodes), but I was sobbing only a little bit into his episode. The thing with the birthday party when he was a little boy, oh my goodness. I always feel like I should have children when I see stuff like that because I feel like I would scold the kids and ask their parents why they think that’s okay. For him to experience that type of rejection over and over… And how hard his parents tried killed me too. They wanted the world for him.
I felt physically ill watching it, and I don’t think I could ever watch it again. Especially because of how tragic it all wound up. Poor John… I truly hope that he is at peace now.
This episode broke my heart too. The people that never meet him at restaurant SHAME ON YOU! This younger man was so sweet , sensitive and smart with great promise. My condolence to the family. John touched many with his story. I am sure that he is with the lord and knows he touched the hearts of many that we call him “friend”.
I found this site quite by accident. I am compelled to say how sad I am rendered by the news of John’s death. This episode truly touched my heart. I will never forget the image of his poor Mom, in quiet despair, crying on her bed. To his family and friends, please accept my sincere condolences. To allow oneself to be scrutinized by the world is a brave feat, and John faced it with dignity. May he rest in peace.
I am devastated to hear of John’s passing. I’m a type 1 diabetic and if there’s only one thing the general public comes away with from his story, I hope it is to understand what a challenge it is for type 1 diabetics to manage this disease 24/7 in order to survive. We must be on top of our blood sugar vs. food intake vs. insulin every hour and even those who are in good control can still suffer devastating complications. For a young person, it’s just so much for some of us to handle, especially as we’re trying to navigate the trials of adolescence and young adulthood. I ruined my own health trying to be a “normal” young person. I wish I could go back with the maturity and resolve I have now to take better care of myself. I hope John’s family is doing well and is able to use his story to help others.
John’s passing touched my heart. My own son (now 9) hasstruggled making friends. He wasbeing bullied at school, at camp, at baseball… He also has ADD and was born prematurely (I also had preeclampsia). I remember the day the principal called me to say that a kid at school witnessed the bullying during lunch — they ripped my son’s name tag off his shirt and called him horrible names. 8 kids at tge same time were teasing him that day. When he got home, I just put my arms around him and felt so horrible that I didn’t even know how bad it was… He said “Every day is worse than before.” After some time, and a formal lecture on bullying, he told me it had stopped. Then I overheard him mention to his little brother how everyone in baseball “spits on him and curses at him.” I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I just want you to know that I care. It sounds silly, because I don’t even know if his family will read this, but I care. And to whomever is reading this — sit next to the person by themselves. Smile at a stranger. Encourage your child to make friends with the child without friends. Please. No one deserves to ever be treated this way.
Sara this is beautiful and made me cry. Thank you.
I’ve was very moved by John’s story and have thought so much of him thru the years since he was on Intervention. We have all had our moments of intense aloneness and that is what drew me to his story. I have thought a lot about John over the years and am saddened to hear of his passing but also glad that he was able to accomplish much before he left.
The world is a cruel cruel place, I’m happy for John that he was able to start loving himself again before he passed. I understand the profound hurt caused by loneliness,
Rest in peace John
I am extremely saddened by Johns passing made all the more heartbreaking by the fact he was finally happy in himself and from what I have read above from his family had a group of friends, I feel deeply for his parents who have now lost their only child…rip john …help all the lost soles out there who are lonely.
I was just looking for this episode that I remembered watching years ago.. little did I know that my very own child would become a Type 1 years later. (at the age of 5) I have often thought this is my child know.. he is going through a hard time with his battle with this awful disease. After watching my own child have 2 seizsures, I have often wondered about my sons future. John was a brave warrior. I am so sad to hear of his passing. I am hoping one day my son will watch his story, including his celebration in life, to be encouraged to live his life to the fullest and inspire others living with this monsterous edipemic. I will ever forget Johns story. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
How is John’s Mom doing?
Warm and comforting thoughts for John’s family and friends.
John was the most loveable guy of this show for me. RIP.
John had a condition similar to something called diabulimia (an eating disorder in which people with type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need or stop taking it altogether for the purpose of weight loss). I have a friend who was diagnosed with it in high school and sent to an eating disorder center. There was a woman there in her 20s who was blind because of her diabulimia and it scared my friend straight into taking care of her diabetics. I can easily imagine the lure of not treating a condition that allows you to eat whatever you want without gaining weight.
I think this is the saddest intervention, and I’ve seen all of them. So heartbreaking. I wish I could have been his friend and helped.
Just watched this episode for the first time and my heart broke for him. I know what it’s like to not have any friends, and not always understand why. I don’t get why he was so rejected by the people around him, he seemed like a perfectly nice and intelligent guy. Felt terrible for his parents as well, they just wanted the best for him. Glad to see in this comment section that he apparently made some good friends before his tragic and untimely death. RIP John.