Nick Jonas speaking at the National Press Club in Washington DC
Browsing through youtube earlier today I stumbled on some videos of Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers (or Jo-Bro) fame speaking at a Diabetes Press conference in Washington D.C. from Monday morning to raise awareness about childhood diabetes. Turns out that Nick was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005 and has been doing lots of charity work to raise awareness of the disease, and give support to other young people diagnosed with the condition.
Talking as a diabetic diagnosed when I was 8, way back in 1998, I think he’s giving out a very positive message. In the press conference he talks a lot about how he struggles with the disease on a day to day basis, having to check his blood sugar levels 12 times a day, and how he wanted to use his position in the media to turn something which is really quite negative, into something positive by giving support to other young people who are struggling with the disease.
Whilst I would consider myself to be have good management of my diabetes on a daily basis and a flexible regime which doesn’t affect my life too much, I admit that I am guilty of not giving it the attention it deserve sometimes, possibly because of lots of the misconceptions there are about the disease.
I’ll often avoid telling people about my diabetes, with lots of my oldest friends not knowing and slyly slipping out to take my injection. The reasons for my reluctancy to talk about it are because of the misconceptions about the disease. I assumed that if I told people, rather than being able to help me if it were to be go wrong, they’d assume that I got the disease because I was over weight or had an unhealthy lifestyle. (It was actually more genetic from my Grandfather)
Hopefully Nick Jonas will be able to use his fame and presence in the media to be able to educate people about some of these misconceptions, and give other kids with the condition the confidence to be more open about it, not to be embarrassed or let it hold them back in any way.
Part of his work for this cause is the “Nick’s Simple Wins” web site, where young diabetics are invited to send in a 30 second video showing how their diabetes hasn’t hindered their ability to be creative or slowed them down in any way. As well as donating lots of money to the cause and selling a dog tag he designed with half of the money going to the Change for Children Foundation.
To my knowledge he’s the only person in the media who openly talks about his condition, and when I was younger, if there were someone like him giving a positive message about the disease I think it couldn’t helped. He also comes across incredibly well, talking to thousands of people and journalists at the press conference extremely well, given that he is only 16 years of age.
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