The answer, in one sense, is yes: he’s 17. But I still admit to having a particular soft spot for Nick Jonas — or, rather, for the work he’s doing to raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes. That’s because Nick, of the boy band the Jonas Brothers, has had Type 1 since he was 13 years old; according to this press release, he just joined forces with Bayer Diabetes Care to “provide young people and their families with the motivation and support they need to help simplify life with diabetes.” (Hey Nick, want to deal with my insurance company?
I’m not exactly sure what it means to be a diabetes ambassador, but I do know this: a lot of kids like Nick Jonas. And if he can help raise awareness about what it’s like to live with Type 1 diabetes, all the better — not to mention the fact that having such a high profile person be so public about his diabetes can be a great comfort to kids who feel ostracized by or embarrassed about their disease.
One aspect of the Bayer/Jonas campaign that might interest parents of diabetic kids — albeit those in England: their “Express Your Simple Win Creativity Contest.” Apparently Nick defines simple wins as “small, everyday victories for managing the condition that can lead to big differences over time. For Nick, a Simple Win is about making other kids with diabetes feel like they can live their dreams and have a positive outlook.” So Bayer’s sponsoring a contest: Diabetic kids in the UK can submit a “creative expression of their Simple Win” for a chance to attend a Jonas Brothers concert in November and meet the brothers backstage. This, apparently, is a big deal. If your kid qualifies, there are more details here. (Again, it’s only open to children in the UK.)
As for Nick’s own diabetic muse, it led him to write the song “A Little Bit Longer.” I can’t say I’m going to put it on my iPod, but I still appreciate the message.
A side note: for anyone who read this post and thought, “Who the hell are the Jonas brothers?” you’re not alone. My family lives right next door to ABC studios and one morning when I was home visiting I was woken up at 6 a.m. by the screams of hundreds of adolescent girls. When I went outside to investigate, I found a huge line of starry-eyed fans holding signs for Kevin, Joe, and Nick — none of whose names I recognized. I approached a security guard and asked what was going on. “It’s the Jonas Brothers,” he said. And then, seeing my blank stare, “They’re a Disney band that the girls love. But there’s Steve Guttenberg!”
Sure enough, there was Steve Guttenberg, of Police Academy fame, coming back from a run in Central Park. He looked over at the line of fans, a somewhat wistful expression on his face, and lingered until the same security guard pointed out to the girls that he was a movie star — albeit one they apparently had never heard of. One then approached him and asked him to sign her cereal box. It made me feel old.