Thursday, June 25, 2009

A JoBro on The Hill: Jonas Bro Invades DC, Befriends Old Men

Nick Jonas and His Home-State Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
Frank Looks Like A Tween Girl; Nick Looks Confused

The singer Nick Jonas traveled to Capitol Hill today — minus the two brothers who appear with him in performances that make pre-teen girls swoon.

What brought him to Washington was the fact that he has Type I diabetes; the renewal of federal funding for research into the disease was the subject of a hearing today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The hearing also featured celebrities who appeal to different demographics: the retired boxer “Sugar” Ray Leonard and the actress Mary Tyler Moore, chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

But it was the Jonas visit that “set young hearts aflutter in Congress,” according to one committee member, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. And, indeed, as the 16-year-old singer left the hearing, he was ambushed by a gaggle of teen-age girls wanting pictures and autographs.

(Another person with the same disease — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee — has caused less of a stir on her recent visits to meet with senators who will vote on her confirmation.)

Type 1 Diabetes, which often begins in childhood, can lead to heart disease, nerve damage and blindness. Diabetes is fatal if untreated, and patients must monitor their glucose levels and treat high levels of blood sugar with insulin replacement therapy.

Mr. Jonas said in an interview that he thought he was going to die when he was first received the diagnosis but he said he has been able to manage the disease.

“It’s one of those things that doesn’t affect every moment of your day, but when it does, it’s the worst timing possible,” he said after the hearing. “It’s a day to day battle and you have to take it one step at a time.”

Nick Jonas, right, joined the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, Dr. Griffin Rodgers and the actress Mary Tyler Moore to testify about Type I Diabetes before a Senate committee on Wednesday.

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