Image: Singer Nick Jonas testifies about diabetes at Senate hearing in Washington
Larry Downing  /  Reuters file
Singer Nick Jonas testifies at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing about Type 1 diabetes research, on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 24.
By
NBC News
updated 9/24/2009 12:27:27 PM ET 2009-09-24T16:27:27

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with singer-songwriter and actor Nick Jonas, of the pop-rock band The Jonas Brothers, about his efforts to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes. Through his work with his organization, Nicks Simple Wins, Jonas inspires children with diabetes to pursue their dreams while coping with their disease, as he has done with his Type 1 diabetes.

Jonas has traveled to Washington to testify before a Senate committee about the need to raise money for juvenile diabetes. In addition, he has created public service announcements and commercials to spread awareness about his cause.

Jonas has also designed dog tags for people with diabetes and their supporters. The tags include a “medic alert.” Jonas has become a spokesperson for the Bayer CONTOUR meter, a device that measures how blood-sugar levels. He wrote the lyrics to the song “A Little Big Longer” about his experience living with diabetes.

Through Nick Simple Wins, children ages 6 to 18 document their everyday experiences in the Express Your Simple Win Contest, which ended Sept. 20 Entrants can keep checking NickSimpleWins.com for the announcement of the winners of the grand prize — meeting Jonas in person.  Nick also advocates for Change For The Children, an organization that he and his brothers started to empower children to face obstacles with self-assurance.

Question: Could you tell me a little about Nick’s Simple Wins and what your role with it is?

Jonas: Nick’s Simple Wins is basically the campaign with Bayer Diabetes Care, to create awareness around diabetes and also give the kind of the messaging that people can relate with. This one really stuck because when I was talking to them about my day-to-day life with diabetes, the thing that came up was about the importance and about the everyday victories that add up to a great day, a great month, a great year, whatever it may be with diabetes; but, it’s that small win at a time that adds up to the big picture.

Q: OK, and what is your personal diabetes story and how has the disease affected you since your diagnosis?

Jonas: I was diagnosed in November of 2005. It was all the symptoms that usually come up when you’re diagnosed and I didn’t know what diabetes really was. I wasn’t very educated on it. And so, when the doctor told me that I had diabetes, I was shocked at first; and all I could ask was if I going to die. And she looked back at me and said that I’d be all right, and that this was something that I’d have to manage for the rest of my life. So, I convinced myself that night on the way to the hospital where I’d spend the next three and a half days that I wouldn’t let it slow me down and that I’d use my platform as an opportunity to share my story, and hopefully encourage and inspire people to live out their dream even with diabetes and whatever it may be in their life that they’re struggling with.

Q: And what specific advice would you give to others with diabetes, especially young people?

Jonas: I’d basically just say that even if you’re an independent person, which I am, it’s always important to consult with your doctors and your family because it’s not just the individual whom it affects, it’s the family, it’s the people around the family; so, working with all of them to make sure that your management of diabetes is controlled and that you all have a grip on it is important.

Q: And is there a memorable moment that you’ve had while working to fight juvenile diabetes?

Jonas: I think just the everyday stories I hear from people who come out to shows and tell me that me telling my story has inspired them or encouraged them. Those are the moments where I just smile and know that every low and high blood sugar that I may have is all worth it because of that moment.

Mary Ellen Matthew
Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers shows off the Bayer Contour Meter blood glucose monitor.

Q: And what are some of the advances that are being made with juvenile diabetes today that you’re excited about?

Jonas: I think just continuing to learn more about technology and what we can do with that to have a better grip on managing your diabetes is always great. From readers to continuous glucose monitors, new pumps that are doing new and better things. It’s all very exciting. I think, as a diabetic, the goal at the end of the day is to find a cure. And I think we’re headed toward that. I was able to speak at the Senate to be able to encourage them to bring in a special diabetes program which is funding money for research so that one day we’ll be closer to the cure.

Q: What projects are you currently working on musically, or anything else?

Jonas: We’re on tour right now; our first world tour, it’s going really well. We’ve done tours inside the States and then some international things, but this is the first one we’re taking all across the world. We’re about a month and a half into it right now and it’s going really well, and it’s amazing to see the sold-out arenas every night, people singing the words to every song, the fans showing up to support us and come have a fun time at the shows. It’s really great.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add about diabetes that I haven’t covered?

Jonas: Just that you can go to nickssimplewins.com and check out information. I put up blogs every month talking about what I’m doing, how I’m managing my diabetes, and lots of cool things on there. And then also, go to changeforthechildren.org. That’s our foundation, the three brothers, where we’re continuing to raise money for diabetes research and trying to raise awareness and just try to do great things there.

More on: Diabetes  |  Jonas Brothers

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