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Denise Jonas Talks About Diabetes Support.

OMG Nick Jonas's mom!  The lovely and gracious Denise Jonas.Denise Jonas is the mother of a kid with diabetes, only her kid with diabetes happens to be Nick Jonas (known in the teen circles as "OMG Nick Jonas," first name "OMG").  Denise recently stepped in as celebrity spokesmom for the Disney Online and Lilly Diabetes collaboration I (and lots of others) blogged about this morning, and she was able to take a few minutes out of her whirlwind media schedule for the Once Upon a Time Contest to chat with me on the phone.  Gracious, kind, and definitely not in denial about the challenges of life with type 1 diabetes, Denise is as sweet as she seems.  Pun sort of intended, I guess.  ;)

KERRI:  Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Denise!  When I was diagnosed with diabetes, support was only within my zip code.  Things are, thankfully, different now.  When your son Nick was diagnosed at age 13, where did you turn for support in those first few weeks?

DENISE:  At first, most of our support came from the hospital.  The medical staff that surrounded us in New Jersey were tremendous.  We had three days of training, and educated us about everything, even about our emotional health.  Everyone around Nick was trained to check him and administer his insulin.  Early on, I consulted mostly with her nurse for information.  But my sons are from the younger generation, and my other two sons immediately went online and found out as much information as they could.  They were scouring for information.

For Nick, he just wanted to know who else had diabetes.  "Who are other celebrities who have type 1 diabetes - give me a list," he asked after his diagnosis.  Only I didn't know of any.  We knew about a lot of athletes, but not many other public figures.

KERRI:  As the mom of a person with diabetes, the worry doesn't stop even though your son is now managing his own care.  How did you let go a little and help him take the reins on the control of his diabetes?

DENISE:  I have to say, if you know Nick, this is the person he's always been.  He's an old soul.  He's always taken the reins with his life.  We all, as parents, have to learn how to let go.  It's hard.  Diabetes affects those who can handle it.  I've always said that about my son - he can handle this.

KERRI:  I know that my mother and I battled incessantly about two things growing up:  boys … and diabetes. How do you maintain a good relationship with Nick when it comes to his diabetes management, and what advice would you have for other parents or caregiver?

DENISE:  It's hard to parent.  You always have to remain a parent and not try to be something different.  You're always the parent.  But don't be afraid to be concerned and care and to inspire.  Try not to let anything limit [your child].  Which is why I believe in this partnership.  The inspiration that is being offered is amazing.  That's why I believe in this. 

KERRI:  Which is the perfect segue to my next question.  Even though both your son and I are now "grown ups" (technically) with diabetes, it's still nice to have fun and relatable role models.  How do you feel about the addition of type 1 diabetes to Coco's character?  What was Nick's reaction? 

DENISE:  Nick is always in support of an influence encouraging awareness of type 1 diabetes.  We meet lots of families with younger children who want someone to identify with.  I've had several parents tell me [laughs] that their kids have dressed up for Halloween as Nick. 

KERRI:  That is what makes Coco and Nick so inspiring.  Not that Nick is a cartoon character, but he and Coco have made having diabetes cool, you know?  Something that kids think is cool.

DENISE:  That's exactly it.  I believe so whole-heartedly that this is the most exciting thing I've seen in a long time.  The education [for families of the newly diagnosed] is limited to a certain extent.  Medical information is absolutely important, but day-to-day encouragement of how to live with this every day and deal with emotions and find the magic in things is needed, too.  This is why I wanted to partner [with Lilly and Disney] on this project.  To help people find the magic.

KERRI:  And can I just say that I think it's awesome that the prize for the winning contest entry helps bring a family to next year's Friends for Life conference?

DENISE:  It is amazing.  So truly amazing.  [And at that point, I could honestly hear her smiling, even over the phone.]

*   *   *

Thank you to Denise Jonas for her endless support of the diabetes community.  You can click here to learn more about the Once Upon a Time contest.  Hope to see the Jonas family at #FFL12! 

Now if only she could get Nick to visit the ladies at Clara Barton Camp ... I mean, he never had a chance to attend diabetes camp.  I'm sure they'd love to have him stop by.


"Diabetes affects those who can handle it." This made me cry. Great interview! OMG Nick Jonas!!

thanks for the interview, kerri! very cool!

my little reecy love the Jonas brothers

Am I just extra emotional today or what? I am a tear factory. I love this so much. It is a good thing for all of us trying to raise awareness about this disease.

..great interview, most exciting project...Edward will be 22 in September...so, boo hoo, he's not eligible to enter the Once Upon a Time Contest...Nick Jonas @ Clara Barton would be A-MAZING...here's hoping!!

Great interview! Thank you!! I loved it!

Nick Jonas in Oxford! That needs to happen, but only CBC girls and joslin boys & alumni, of course. Get working on that K-sparl!

There is a great deal of evidence that drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes cause harmful side effects. Rezulin has caused liver failure and Avandia has caused heart attacks as well as cardiovascular disease.
A natural solution is needed and, in fact, is here. Resveratrol has been shown to be an effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes. It is all natural and causes no side effects, making it safe for long-term use.
Below are links to studies demonstrating how resveratrol may curb insulin resistance, increase insulin sensitivity and help protect the heart and eyes from damage caused by the disease.
The supplement physicians recommend is Resvantage as it is the most bioavailable resveratrol supplement on the market meaning that your body is able to absorb more of it. Additionally, the encapsulation method that the manufacturer uses protects the compound from losses in potency which is a real issue with most resveratrol supplements.


Hi Denise -
I'm also the mom of a son with type 1....he was diagnosed just a few weeks after his ninth birthday. Since then, I have been very active in Seattle's diabetes research community. I am currently on the board of the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute and am chairing their annual auction. I KNOW this is a long shot and that you probably get inundated with requests, BUT if you can come up with any kind of donation with Nick's autograph on it, I'd be absolutely thrilled!
Thanks so much...one day there WILL be a cure!
Lynn Kern

Kerri, it's not "OMG", it's "OMJ!" ;D

Thanks for this interview. My 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed just months after Nick Jonas was, and his openness about this disease has *greatly* helped her deal with it. We've seen the Jonas Brothers perform 6 times and met the boys once. Nick was so very kind and gracious to my daughter and I was so, so grateful to him for asking her about her diabetes (he noticed her pump). Our young children NEED great role models who have Type 1 and Nick is definitely one I'm proud of and thankful for.

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