Pilots With Diabetes Set New World Record: 29 States in 24 Hours

pilots-preparefortakeoff-Dexcom-planeDid you know that there are only eight countries that allow people with diabetes to be commercial airline pilots? Most countries find it to be too much of a liability. I recently got to interview two inspiring men who have type 1, are pilots, and recently beat the previously-set world flying record of landing in 23 states in 24 hours!

Read my interview with them for On Track Diabetes on how they’re breaking down stigmas in the aviation world.


Nick Jonas: Will you be my Valentine?


Be still my heart. Another Valentine’s Day is here and I’m without a Valentine this year. I was dreading the corny Hallmark cards that I was having to pass in the Target aisles, the heart-shaped pizza ads that I was seeing at Papa Murphy’s, and most annoying the couple dinner deals at local restaurants. So when I got the call a couple of weeks ago from my editor at DiabeticLifestyle with the opportunity to interview Nick Jonas…I thought this was my chance for a Valentine’s date with a bonafide diabetes hunk! Though I had recently read the headlines of him romancing Kate Hudson…I thought, well, he must dig blondes. I asked him during the interview about what he looks for in a type-3 diabetic and what he stays away from. (For those who don’t know this term, a type-3 is an endearing term that people with diabetes use for their significant other who is very supportive of your diabetes) and what he stays away from.

Read his answer and the rest of my blog for DiabeticLifestyle here… 


Nick Jonas on Flying the Diabetes Flag High!


I got the incredible opportunity to interview Nick Jonas a couple weeks ago about what he looks for in a type 3, the positives and negatives about living with diabetes, and those pesky questions that seems to be asked to people living with diabetes.

Read my exclusive interview with this incredible diabetes advocate!



Type-1 Diabetes from a Documentary Filmmaker’s Perspective…

J.D.was in a Bible study of mine when I was living in Minneapolis last year. He had told me his love and passion for telling other people’s story through the eye of a camera lens. Because I was looking to have a new speaker’s video created…he shot me some ideas. As a lot of you know, the final product was a video that now has had almost 8,000 views in just a few short weeks. In a recent conversation with JD I asked him if he would guest post on my blog about what he learned about someone living with type-1 diabetes from filming this short project with me. Here are his fascinating responses below…..

By: J.D. O’Brien

I’m a documentary filmmaker because I love to tell stories, and I believe that everyone has a story worth hearing. This job allows me to hear people’s stories, and then help shape and craft them so those stories can be shared with lots of people.

J.D. O'Brien

J.D. O’Brien

For each video I produce, I look for a scene that the subject and I can create together that will create a break from seeing a talking head for the duration of the video, but also show the audience another angle of the subject’s character and personality. For Quinn, figure skating was a natural fit. She had competed into her teen years, and so it’s something she’s been passionate about for a long time. From a filmmaking perspective, it’s a graceful, beautiful athletic skill that was easy to capture on video. But the setting of the pond also helped establish Quinn as a small town girl from Minnesota, and it also showed that she’s a very disciplined and determined woman, and that showed equally in the moves that she accomplished flawlessly as well as the ones where she ended up on her backside.

I actually learned a lot about type-1 diabetes from making this project. The biggest thing I learned was the lack of choices involved for those with the disease. While type-2 is often preventable, type-1 strikes completely at random. For most of us, if we have a similar lifestyle of discipline and determination like Quinn showed us in the video, it’s because we’ve chosen that lifestyle. We made conscious choices to eat healthier, or stop accumulating credit card debt, or a whole host of other things. For Quinn, and others with type-1 diabetes, they either needed to develop that determination and discipline as children, or they would die. There were no other options.

I hope that all of my films create an opportunity for the audience to walk a mile in the shoes of someone else. In this case, the shoes of someone living with type-1 diabetes. I hope that they walk away with a greater appreciation for the struggles of those living with type-1 diabetes. I also hope that for the portion of this audience that does live with type-1 diabetes that they can find empathy, hope and solidarity from Quinn’s story.

Here’s the final product:

7500 Views in 48 Hours

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

For the last two years I’ve been blogging for another diabetes website. I decided to stop with that because it had started to not become as fun for me anymore. I wanted to get back to purely writing for myself on my little WordPress site. Unrestricted. Not influenced by what content or messaging they had on their homepage. I feel most centered when I’m speaking about my diabetes journey. I realize not one d-journey is the same…but I hope to be a voice to those who need one.


The Video that got 7,500 hits in 48 hours

I was playing around with a new Facebook video feature last week and posted a year-old video that I had filmed by a guy friend of mine who I met through Bible study last January. Imagine my shock when I went back on my FB two days later to see the video had almost 7,500 views! The video is something that I’m really proud of and I wanted you all to know why filming that video helped me break aways chains to bring me freedom again….

Him and I worked on a concept and he suggested that I bring in my figure skating background to weave into the story. That didn’t sound like a good idea to me. Since beginning treatment (for bulimia), I had not laced up my skates. During my tough years of struggling with an eating disorder, it made me feel not good enough. The old things that I loved to do were not fun for me anymore. I hadn’t played a note on the piano since leaving the pageant scene in 2010 and hadn’t laced up skating boots since 2007.

I didn’t even have my pair of skates at my apartment in Minneapolis. He told me he wanted to show another aspect of my life, other then just living with diabetes. I bought a $25 pair of figure skates off of Craigslist and brought them to get sharpened the morning of the filming. He told me he had picked out a small pond that he thought would remind me of the days when I learned to figure skate in my parent’s backyard.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

I had to get to the point that day that my history of being sick with an eating disorder did not have to dictate my destiny. If living with diabetes for 16 years has taught me anything…it’s that you may have tough days and fall, but the next day is a new one and you must find strength in the Lord and pick yourself back up.

Skating around that pond last February reminded me of my love of the sport. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t whip off jumps and spins anymore. What mattered was that I laced those boots up after years of fearing of not being good enough on that ice.

Publishing my book last January about my journey living with diabetes has fueled my desire to want to continue to speak out about my personal story. Tomorrow I head to Washington, D.C. to speak to over 100 Novo Nordisk employees about being an effective diabetes advocate and on Wednesday we will march the Hill. Send prayers my way!

Please take a moment to watch the video and let me know of a time where you overcame a fear….

To learn more about the work I do for diabetes, or to see if I’m speaking in a town near you, check out my website….www.QuinnNystrom.com

Next week’s blog post –  JD will write on what it was like for him to shoot a video and learn more about diabetes from another angle. 

Call to Congress 2013

Last month I was chosen to represent Minnesota at the 2013 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Call to Congress event. Advocacy is confsomething that is near and dear to my heart. I first attended this event when I was 16 years old and had just been chosen as National Youth Advocate for the ADA. Over 200 diabetes advocates flew in to Washington, DC from around the country to be trained on what ellingsonissues are imperative on Capitol Hill for people living with diabetes. On the 2nd day of the conference we stormed the hill and met with our US Senators & Congressmen. Our Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents about issues that are important to them (we do vote if they’re in or out). My goal is to try to put a face and a name with the cause. The statistics can get overwhelming for anyone. I want them to know how diabetes has personally affected my life and my brothers.

It was a successful 3-day conference! It was fun to see fellow friends and past National Youth Advocates that I’ve served with…it was

Maddie Dodge & I - past National Youth Advocates

Maddie Dodge & I – past National Youth Advocates

kind of like Homecoming!

Jim McGowan put together a wonderful video where he wrote and performed the songs on it about stopping diabetes. Check it out…song and montage of advocate visits to Capitol Hill and their inspirations to STOP DIABETES…


ACTION STEP: Become an advocate! It’s quick & easy. Click here to be brought to the American Diabetes Association’s page on where you can sign up to be an advocate (you will see a red sign-up box on the right hand side of the page). They will email you when there is an important diabetes piece of legislation that is going to be voted on. They make it quick and easy for you to send a form letter to your Member of Congress. I promise you it takes 3 minutes to do and you only get 1 e-mail from them every other month (you will not be spammed). Will you join with me in helping STOP DIABETES!?!