Diabetes is described as a metabolism disorder in which a person has high blood sugar either because insulin production is inadequate or the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. Type 1 diabetes also known as juvenile or early on-set diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes; the more common form of diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function or the cells in the body do no react to the insulin. Insulin levels affect many different areas of the body and someone with diabetes is at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, and nervous system disease which can result in amputation. 25.8 million people have diabetes in the United States. There are many different charities that are fighting to end diabetes including Stop Diabetes, Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation, Shop Diabetes, and The American Diabetes Association.
Courtesy Love and Theft
Jonah Osby-Vieira and Eric hang backstage
Eric Gunderson is one of an American country singing duo along with Stephen Barker Liles called Love and Theft. Stephen and Eric share lead vocals and both play guitar in their most recent album with RCA Records. The duo’s new album is nominated for New Artist or the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year at The Country Music Awards.
Introduction By: Meg Zrini
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q: How did you get involved with the cause of juvenile diabetes?
Eric: I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 13 years old. I was fortunate enough to be a teenager when it happened so I better understood how to properly control my sugars and keep my diabetes under control. Even so, there were so many times that my levels got out of control and I had a few near death experiences.
Q: Is there one moving experience you have had while working on this cause that stands out above the rest?
Eric: About 6 months ago I met a young boy named Jonah. He is full of life, he has so much energy and he was such a blessing to me. Unfortunately, he has type 1 diabetes. Over the course of a few days I got to know him it was clear he is struggling with this frustrating disease. His sugars were up and down and it was written all over his face when his blood sugar was high or low. I know what a blood sugar of 300 feels like (one of the worst feelings ever) and I really felt for Jonah and couldn't imagine what feeling like that all the time at the age of six would be like. I spent the afternoon showing Jonah how often i test my blood sugar and how easy it was to take insulin etc. i felt like we really connected. it almost seemed like something clicked for him, and maybe diabetes didn't seem like such an awful thing anymore. instead, it was a disease that he and his mother could control not the other way around. it was at that moment that I decided I would do everything in my power as a musician and singer to bring awareness to juvenile diabetes. And more importantly to do whatever I can to help find a cure.
Q: What should people know about this disease that they might not already know?
Eric: Type 1 diabetes is not the disease most people think it is. It generally occurs in young people and rarely has anything to do with obesity and or a sedentary lifestyle like most people think. It is generally not preventable but it is very treatable. With the help of a good endocrinologist, a pump therapy or daily injection plan, daily exercise, and a healthy diet, you can live a very normal life. But what kid wants to deal with that day in and day out? The goal is obviously to find a cure.
Courtesy Love And Theft
Jonah sends a message.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Eric: Jonah has recently found a new endocrinologist and his sugars are improving every day! I hope to bring awareness to a disease that people really have no clue about. I feel like people just lump type 1 diabetes in with type 2. With the growing number of obese people in the USA I think diabetes is seen as a preventable disease. While type 2 is, type 1 is not and is a pain in the butt for kids and adults everywhere. My goal is to be a spokesperson and advocate for type 1 diabetics everywhere. We need a voice and we need to find a cure for type 1 diabetes