Meeting Crystal Bowersox

Learning to appreciate dStars for who they are outside the dWorld

Michelle Alswager BioBy Michelle Alswager

October 2013 — In my new life as Development Director for Riding On Insulin, I do a lot of traveling and I meet a lot of new people. On one of those trips, I had the pleasure of getting to know Crystal Bowersox. If you don't know who she is, Crystal launched her career in the public eye as a contestant on American Idol.

A contestant with type 1 diabetes.

Over the years I've seen her face on the dLife website (hey, she and I went head-to-head in a contest for the person making the biggest impact in the d-world. What an honor!) and as a spokesperson for JDRF. On a July evening, I had the pleasure of singing "Don't Stop Believin'" at the top of my lungs with her at a sushi-karaoke venue in Florida (I can't make that up — it truly exists).

And so, when I found out Crystal was playing a venue in my hometown, I shot her an email and in true, good spirit she offered up space for a Riding On Insulin table. When the sold-out show went live, my volunteers and I poked our heads into the show and as luck should have it, a nice gentleman told us someone did not show up to take their seats and asked if we wanted to sit there? Why yes — yes we would! Even more pleasurable was the fact that they were box seats in the front row.

With me was one of our Riding On Insulin campers, 12-year-old Maddy, who was diagnosed age 2. I smiled as I watched Maddy's face as Crystal poured her heart out in song after song. I wondered what was going through Maddy's mind. Was she thinking about the fact that she has type 1, too? Was she wondering how Crystal handles her blood sugars while on stage? Was she thinking about what was in Crystal's cup that she drank from on stage? Was it water or was it orange juice in case of a low?

And then, I stopped myself and thought, "Maybe she's just enjoying a very talented musician."

Maybe for a moment, Crystal Bowersox was enjoying being Crystal Bowersox —the talented country artist who writes songs about past relationships, about her son, about her upbringing. Maybe this was Crystal's moment NOT to be type 1. Maybe she just wants to be known for her talent and not for being "another celebrity with type 1," who just happens to be a country artist, too.

As I looked out into the crowd, I saw smiling faces, clapping, and so much happiness. All they saw was "Crystal". Not "Crystal Bowersox, type 1 country singer." And I wondered if that was what Crystal was feeling… and for maybe a few hours, she felt appreciated just for being on earth.

The whole experience was a well-timed reminder for me — and all of us — to appreciate people like Crystal for who they are outside the d-world. Because at the end of the day, those celebs are just like the millions of Americans out there who want to be known for one of their true talents. Somehow, I don't think "having diabetes" makes that list. That's my point.

Read more of Michelle's columns here.

dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: November 07, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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