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Nick Jonas. Just whisper his name and you can hear girls screaming across the country, no? With their worldwide music tours, Disney channel TV series, and now making movies, this 18-year-old singer and his two brothers have officially become Larger Than Life.
Nick, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2005, has chosen to devote much of his fame to raising awareness about diabetes. Thanks to the good folks at DiabeticConnect.com and Bayer Diabetes, I was delighted to have the opportunity to “dish on diabetes” with Nick over the phone last week. (My three daughters will never, ever look at me the same again!)
“From day one, it was my call. I wanted to first be comfortable with it — and then once I felt I was in a good place with my diabetes, I was ready to go out there and share it.”
— Nick Jonas, on becoming the world’s most famous face of type 1 diabetes
Nick, when I interviewed you back in 2006 about insulin pumping, you were just getting started. Since then, you’ve become the face of type 1 diabetes — possibly the most famous spokesperson for this illness ever. What is that like?
It’s hard to believe. Actually, I don’t think of myself that way. I think I’m just another person out there living with diabetes. I am blessed to be able to connect with people who’ve just been diagnosed and offer them the comfort of knowing that someone else out there is also living with this thing and doing well with it. That gives me so much satisfaction!
Most people don’t want to be defined by their illness, but you’ve been so public with yours. Was that something your family or publicists pushed, or did it come entirely from you?
From day one, it was my call. I wanted to first be comfortable with it — and then once I felt I was in a good place with my diabetes, I was ready to go out there and share it. It’s one of the better decisions I’ve ever made; it’s given me a lot of joy, and hopefully brought comfort to a lot of people.
How can you tell that you’ve made a difference for all these kids out there with type 1? Can you give us some examples?
A lot of people come to me and say, ‘I was alone, and then I saw you also living diabetes and I didn’t feel so alone anymore.’ That’s a great thing! When I hear that, I tell them, ‘Keep your head up. It’s tough in the beginning. It can be overwhelming, but it’s going to be all right. You can do anything you want with diabetes.’
What about at your concerts? Any special connections going on there?
Several times people will pull up their shirts to show their pumps on their bellies. In the beginning I was like, whoa! When they first start lifting up their shirts, you really don’t know what’s coming…And when the really little ones come up and show their pumps, that’s so cute. The pump looks like it weighs a bit more than they do.
Are you still a pumper? And do you also use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) system?
Still a pumper, yes. I have tried CGM, and I want to get back on it again. When I did, it was one of the first-generation devices, which was good, but a bit more difficult to use than I would have preferred. I have seen the new ones, and they look really powerful and useful — so I’m hoping to get on one of those soon…
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SOURCE, NEWS TIP: Allison Blass