Meeting Nick Jonas – Nick’s Simple Wins

We first learned of Nick at our OmniPod training in April 2007.  Caleb was diagnosed only months earlier and one of the things that provided me great comfort was learning about people living full, enriching lives with diabetes. I heard of everyday people – someone’s friend’s daughter or other patients of Caleb’s endo.  There weren’t too many public figures living with diabetes that I found relatable.  So when I heard of a young man who was diagnosed shortly before Caleb, using the same pump as Caleb, and was continuing with his career in the public eye, I was intrigued.

Since then, Caleb has become a true Nick fan.  He owns his music, has been to his concerts, and has various books, magazines and paraphernalia featuring Nick and his brothers.  Caleb enjoys singing, plays the piano, is learning the guitar and recently acquired a set of drums which he practices daily – sound familiar?

When I saw the tweet from Amy about Bayer’s Express Your Simple Win contest last spring, Caleb and I got to work.  In October he  found out he was one of three grand prize winners and would be meeting Nick in Orlando.

Bethel Woods August 2008

Caleb, his brother Colin and I had the privilege of meeting Kevin, Joe and Nick at their concert in Bethel Woods in August 2008.  It was a fantastic experience.  We waited two hours to meet them for about 2 minutes.  As soon as Nick heard that Caleb also has diabetes, his focus was 100% on Caleb.  There were high fives, fist bumps, some words exchanged, a picture taken and huge smiles.  Caleb’s reaction was priceless.  He skipped out of there declaring, “that was totally worth the wait!!”  I saw firsthand the real, tangible influence that Nick has.  Two minutes was a thrill; I couldn’t imagine what an intimate meeting would be like.

Here’s how it went:

Upon checking in at the hotel, we heard, “Are you here for the Simple Wins contest? Is that Caleb?” It was Bradley, one of the other winners, and his mom.  Caleb was so excited to meet them.  That night, Caleb and I stepped out on the balcony of our room and heard, “Oh my goodness – is that Caleb?  We’ve been looking for you all day!”  It was Lauren, the other winner, with her mom and sister on the balcony next to us.  Another great thrill.  Meeting Bradley and Lauren was a prize in and of itself to Caleb.  They were able to talk amongst themselves, whether about baseball, singing, helping the community, or about diabetes, and feel connected.  There was an instant bond.

On the day of the meet, the winners were brought to a grand conference room.  Inside they chatted, took pictures and waited.  First came Big Rob.  He greeted everyone (or perhaps scoped out the room for Nick’s safety) and took pictures.  Caleb was on top on the world.  Rob left and while everyone talked about what fun that was, Nick nonchalantly entered.

The first thing I remember him saying was to Caleb: “I know that YOU are a Yankees fan.  You’re a good man.”  I didn’t think it could get better than that moment.  The four of them spoke of their interests, their stay in Orlando, the music they liked and they talked about diabetes too.  He asked Caleb if he ever went low while he was playing baseball.  It was nice.  It was comfortable.  It was exciting.

They took some pictures, Nick autographed Caleb’s Burning Up book on the page where Nick talks about his diabetes (Caleb proudly declaring, “I read the whole thing”).  Then they sat down and chatted some more.  Caleb talked about the concerts he attended.  Nick recalled being under the weather at one of them.  They talked more about the Yankees and the World Series.  Nick described how he watched the series on a laptop in Italy at six in the morning. Then “Bounce” became a topic of conversation and Caleb was invited to perform his version of Bog Rob’s “chicken wing” and “ham and cheese”.  Big Rob came back in to watch.  It was a reserved performance on Caleb’s part, but still great to see it bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

I spoke with Nick’s father, another kind and gracious man.  Upon thanking him, he responded, “we understand”.  It’s true.  They know.  He explained that Nick does this because when he was diagnosed, he wanted to know of the athletes and musicians and other public figures who were living with diabetes.  The list was short.  Nick understands the comfort it brings, and his ability to provide it.  So he does.

I spoke to Nick.  I took the chance to explain why what he does is important to us.  Caleb doesn’t wonder if diabetes will limit him.  He has virtually always had Nick as a point of reference to know that it won’t.  I don’t think Caleb has yet to even consider if diabetes could be an obstacle to anything he wants to do.  I credit Nick a great deal for giving that to him and I told him so.

As things were wrapping up, Caleb mentioned to Nick that they used the same insulin pump.  They took turns pulling up their shirts showing each other their Pods.

I have never seen Caleb smile so big or for so long.  Ever.

Thank you Nick.  Thank you Bayer.  You have created meaningful, lifelong memories.  The day itself was a thrill, but what I hope is that at least one day in Caleb’s future, when diabetes is proving difficult, he will think back to this meeting in Orlando.  He will remember a young man that was not all that different from himself: a young gentleman, with a curl to his hair, a love of music, a charming smile and the same daily challenges to manage his blood sugar.

I hope he will think of Nick and remember that diabetes didn’t slow him down and it doesn’t have to slow Caleb down either.

30 Replies to “Meeting Nick Jonas – Nick’s Simple Wins”

  1. Awesome!!!!!! Caleb is an awesome kid and he deserved to meet Nick. Diabetes is a pain but there are a few good benefits. Memories and life long friendships.

  2. Reading this, I got a feeling in the pit of my stomach. A feeling of joy for Caleb that we was able to meet Nick Jonas (can’t call him just Nick since I’ve never even met him lol) but for some reason a feeling of sadness too that there is that bond – diabetes – between the two of them. I think it IS important for actors, actresses, professional athletes, musicians, etc in the public eye to come forward and advocate for diabetes if they have it. It means more than they know to us “regular” people to be able to relate to someone who is not only coping with diabetes but also living a life in the spotlight. That anything is possible. Thanks for sharing and am so glad Caleb had an adventure he’ll always remember! 🙂

  3. what an incredible experience!! not only one meeting but two!! i am so proud of Caleb and of you, Lorraine! you 2 are such go-getters…and whether you realize it or not, your posts, your tweets, your openness about life w/D is helping so many people. it is so valuable to hear your stories. it seems like Nick is definitely keeping his head wrapped around how important it is for HIM to be outspoken about his disease. let’s keep hoping for brighter things on the horizon because of the attention it gets through people like him…

  4. I am SO happy for you guys! Its important to have someone to look up to at that age and let you know that even as a diabetic, you can still do anything you want. I know that will be something he’ll keep with him forever.

  5. What a great post Lorraine! I am so happy that Caleb had the chance to experience that. It’s wonderful that he has somebody to look up too, somebody that’s real and that he was able to speak with. It’s wonderful when people in the public eyes get involved and really have an impact on somebody’s life.

    I wish that I could have seen Caleb’s face… I’m sure that it was priceless. I had tears in my eyes reading about how happy he was…. if I was there I probably would have been crying! 🙂

  6. So very cool. I don’t know what else to say.
    Wish I had this type of bonding experience 20 years ago?

    Glad Caleb was able to have his moment. He deserves it. As do you.

  7. this made me cry. so happy for Caleb that he got to meet Nick & they related to one another. I know part of Nick’s calling in life is to spread information about diabetes & try to help in some way to find a cure & to mostly encourage those with diabetes, which he does daily by living his dream.

  8. As a parent, I know the feeling of creating a lasting memory and how it can change a life forever. I am so happy that Caleb was selected for this because I know how hard you and he work at his diabetes. I truly don’t know anyone better deserving of this.

    Am I the only one that thinks they look alike in the first picture?

    Keep up the great work and being an inspiration for us all!

  9. Beautiful story, thank you for sharing. I have to be honest, I cried while reading this. Your son will be just fine. 🙂

  10. Love the poster pic of Caleb’s toothless grin next to him smiling with his grown in teeth! So CUTE! Thanks for sharing this story. Just wonderful : )

  11. I remember watching Caleb’s video on Simple Wins.
    His was my favorite.
    I loved the way he smiled throughout the whole thing, and he was just a little light throughout the whole thing.

    This story made me cry.
    It was great that Nick is such an inspiration to Caleb like he is to me.
    While I may not have diabetes, he still helps me through rough times, and I am glad that he does that for Caleb too.

    I wish Caleb and you family the best down the road.
    God Bless.

  12. What a wonderful story. I am so happy that Caleb got a chance to meet the Jonas brothers.


  13. Thank you so much everyone! This has been such a great experience for us both and it continued through this post and all your heartfelt comments! It really means a great deal to us to have your support and encouragement.

  14. Wow, what an amazing experience for Caleb as well as you, Lorraine. Reading your post made me very happy and glad to know that people like Nick are making a difference and embracing the opportunity to be spectacular role models.

    Now the big question is how’s the drum playing going? 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful experience .. I love it.. i can picture the whole thing.
    I also think that in the first picture your son does look like Nick , I bet Caleb will be the next inspiration for his generation 🙂

  16. I have type 1 diabetes and really struggling, would love to meet or talk to nick for encouragement.

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