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Famous People with Type 1 Diabetes

Inspiration for Living Well with Diabetes

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Updated April 16, 2014

Type 1 diabetes knows no bounds. It touches the lives of common people as well as the famous and well known. Celebrities often use their visibility and public position to speak out about issues that are important to them and in the process help encourage us.

Here are nine famous people living with type 1 diabetes that are an inspiration and living examples that you can achieve your dreams amid the challenges of diabetes.



1. Jay Cutler

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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008 and carefully monitors his blood sugar before, during and after each game. He wears an insulin pump to manage his glucose levels.



2. Bret Michaels

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Bret Michaels, lead singer for the band Poison, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 6 years old. He hasn’t let diabetes deter him from a successful music career that has sold over 25 million records and includes 15 Top 40 singles. His work has now expanded into film production, writing, directing and acting. He currently has a reality television show called “Rock of Love.” Michaels takes four insulin injections each day and tests his blood eight times a day.  He recently won The Celebrity Apprentice and pledged his $250,000 award to the American Diabetes Association.



3. Nick Jonas

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Nick Jonas, lead singer and guitarist for the Jonas Brothers was 13 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. His blood sugar was over 700 at the time and required him to be  hospitalized to get his blood sugar under control. It wasn’t until 2007, two years after his diagnosis, that he made an announcement about his diabetes while playing at a Diabetes Research Institute carnival. Since that time he has become a great inspiration for many young people with diabetes. Jonas is quoted as saying, “I want to let kids know that it doesn’t have to be so hard. The most important thing is to never ever let yourself get down about having diabetes.”

4. Anne Rice

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Novelist Anne Rice, most famous for her many vampire novels, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998. At the time of diagnosis her blood sugar was around 800 and her health was fragile. Since that time she has learned to manage her diabetes and accepts the fact that she must take insulin injections the rest of her life. Despite her diabetes, she is still writing and publishing with renewed enthusiasm.

5. Nary Tyler Mooore

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Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 30 after being hospitalized following a miscarriage. A routine blood test taken during her hospitalization recorded a blood sugar of 750, which prompted the start of insulin therapy. Moore, best known for her years on, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” has appeared in many other television shows and movies and been honored with numerous awards. Moore has long been active in promoting diabetes research and has served as the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for several years.

6. Elliott Yamin

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Elliott Yamin is best known for his third place finish in the fifth season of American Idol. Yamin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his mid-teens. He admits to being angry and in denial about his diabetes back then but has accepted that fact that he must manage his blood sugar and currently does so with the use of an insulin pump. He has become a role model for young people with diabetes and has been quoted as saying, “stay positive…and don’t let the disease hold you back.”

7. Sonia Sotomayor

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Sonia Sotomayor is a Justice on the United States Supreme Court and is the first person with type 1 to ever serve on the high court. Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age eight and began taking daily insulin injections. Sotomayor was initially interested in a career as a detective but after her diabetes diagnosis she was inspired to go into a legal career and become a judge.

8. Gary Hall Jr.

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Olympian swimmer Gary Hall Jr. was an accomplished competitive swimmer when he was diagnosed with type 1 in 1999. With four Olympic medals already in hand (two gold, two bronze) from the 1996 Olympics, doctors told him then that his swimming career was over. But Hall was determined to prove them wrong. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Hall won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze, bringing his Olympic medal count to a total of eight. But he wasn’t finished. At the 2004 Athens Games, he became the oldest male in 80 years to win gold for the U.S. team by winning a both a gold and bronze medal, for a total of ten. Hall regularly speaks to young people with diabetes emphasizing that their goals can be accomplished despite the fact that they live with diabetes.

9. Nicole Johnson

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Nicole Johnson won the Miss America pageant in 1999. But it was two years earlier while competing in the Miss Virginia pageant that her blood sugar went so low that she fell unconscious and was nearly forced to leave the pageant. That wake-up call prompted her to talk openly about her type 1 diabetes, which was diagnosed in 1993. By the time she won the Miss America pageant she had already begun to advocate for diabetes. She is now a mother and serves on various health advisory committees along with working with the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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