As parents know, people from all walks of life get type 1 diabetes. When you go to your child’s classroom to educate the other kids about the condition, it can help to mention celebrities who have type 1, so children will understand that it doesn’t equate to cooties, or to any major limitations. On the contrary: Your child has something in common with some very cool, talented, accomplished people! Read on to meet a few of them.


Nick Jonas


Nick Jonas, perhaps the most famous young star with type 1 diabetes, was 13 when he was diagnosed in 2005. A founding member of the band The Jonas Brothers, he is also a Broadway veteran who recently founded the band Nick Jonas & The Administration. He started the Change for the Children Foundation that partners with five charities to raise money and awareness for diabetes.


Crystal Bowersox


Crystal Bowersox, a singer/songwriter and American Idol® alum, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 6 years old. In May 2010, she was hospitalized because of complications from diabetes during season nine of American Idol, and she was almost eliminated from the show. She convinced the producers to keep her on, and ended up being named first runner-up.


Elliot Yamin


Elliot Yamin, a singer/songwriter who was third runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol®, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16. He now works with the JDRF to raise awareness.


Kris Freeman


Kris Freeman is a national champion cross-country skier. Before competing in his first Olympics at age 19, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. With careful management, he went on to participate in three Olympic Games and place fourth in the 2009 World Championships — the best finish for an American cross-country skier to date. In the off-season, he visits diabetes summer camps to encourage children to “keep reaching for their dreams. You don’t have to stop living just because you have diabetes.”


Sonia Sotomayor


Supreme Court justice Sonya Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 7 years old. The little girl from the Bronx — who was so afraid of the needle on that first hospital visit that she ran away to the parking lot and hid under a car — eventually went on to graduate from Princeton University and Yale Law and become the first Latina to sit on the nation’s highest court.


Gary Hall, Jr.


Gary Hall, Jr. is an Olympic swimmer. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999 and was told he wouldn’t be able to swim in the Olympics ever again. He proved naysayers wrong when he won gold medals in 2000 and 2004. He started an organization called Foundation for Diabetes to fund research.


Mary Tyler Moore


Mary Tyler Moore (best known for roles in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 33. In her memoir, she offers a personal account of living with diabetes.


Jay Cutler


At age 22, Jay Cutler (who’s been an NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Since then, he’s participated in fundraising efforts to help kids attend diabetes summer camp.



Coco 9

Coco, a young monkey with type 1 diabetes, is the star of the Disney book Coco and Goofy’s Goofy Day (from the same collaboration that produces this website). She even wears a diabetes bracelet! In the book, Goofy is worried that Coco won’t be able to participate in all the fun of his birthday bash, but it turns out it’s Goofy who can’t handle all the goodies! Ask your healthcare provider for a free copy at your next visit.


The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

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