As parents, we wanted my daughter Evelyn, who has Type 1, to know that anything was possible, so we decided to have her meet extraordinary people with Type 1. The celebrities we have met and talked with have managed to follow their passion with diabetes in tow. As parents, we decided that if we were asking her to believe in what she thought was impossible at the time – that she could manage her diabetes and have a full life – then it was best to show her in a way that would grab her attention.
We had no special connections; we didn’t “know” anyone that could get us “in” with any of these people. Instead, I tweeted, messaged, emailed, and searched-engined my way into every meet-and-greet. Some were easier than others to meet, with Nick Jonas being the most difficult, as he is in high demand.
We also have met with rock stars Bret Michaels and Crystal Bowersox, baseball players Sam Fuld and Brandon Morrow, race car drivers Ryan Reed and Miguel Paludo, up-and-coming tennis star Elizabeth Profit, and Amazing Race winner Dr. Natalie Strand, among others. Each had a story to tell, and each has helped draw attention to issues of life with diabetes through advocacy or just by sharing their personal stories.
Deciding to meet each celebrity creates a tangible goal to go alongside the less tangible and constant goals that come with diabetes self-care. We studied up on each celebrity and their diabetes stories before we met them so we could talk diabetes shop in person. We wanted to provide parallels between our story and theirs to show Evelyn that she’s not alone, and that she can accomplish much.
In the coming months, we’re set to meet Carolina Panthers football player Kyle Love and snowboarder Sean Busby. This isn’t all we do to stay inspired – Evelyn has been a youth ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, for example – but our little project has kept us busy and energized. And that’s one way celebrities with diabetes matter.
This article is in response to our recent post – “This is Not a Nick Jonas Article”.
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