Diabetes brings us together, that's for certain. Since I started blogging, I've had a chance to meet so many other people with diabetes, and I've had the distinct pleasure of forging friendships with these kindred spirits.
George Simmons is a guy I'm proud to call a friend.
And he's written a beautiful song called "Not By Choice," which he has recorded professionally and loaded to iTunes (where you can purchase it)! George and I shared a cup of virtual coffee and he humored me by letting me interview him:
Kerri: SuperG, I'm honored to count you as a friend, but there are some people out there who don't know who you are. (I know, dude. I, too, am shocked.) Can you tell them who you are?
George: My name is George Simmons. I am a 36 year old, father of 2, husband of 1, and a type 1 diabetic for 18 years. I love to play music, sing, write, play video games, and make people laugh as often as I can.
Kerri: You've written a song in tribute to your own diabetes - that is so awesome. What is the inspiration for the song?
George: I wrote "Not By Choice" last November for World Diabetes Day. I knew I wanted to do something special for that day on my blog and literally started the singing the chorus on my way home from work one day. By the time I got home, I worked out the chords, wrote the lyrics for the verses and recorded a video of myself playing it. The inspiration was really just wanting to express some of the journey of this disease and in turn hopefully help others to see that they are not alone.
Kerri: What made you want to record it and put it out there for the world?
George: After the vlog post went up I had a lot of people asking for it. I was so flattered but was not sure I could pull it off. The more I read the lyrics and heard the song it was like something was telling me that I had to do it. I had to tell this story because the more I heard from people, the more I realized that it was not just my story. And I saw that it was not only a song for people with diabetes but really anyone living with a chronic condition can find their own story in these words.
Kerri: You've been diabetic for a long time, but you've made incredible strides in your own health over the last few years. How has the diabetes community helped you take better care of yourself?
George: I often tell of how the online community saved my life. I mean that with deepest sincerity. Before I found this community I was a pack a day smoke who never checked his blood sugar, and who had an A1C of 12.5! After finding all these people online and starting my own blog, I have lowered my A1C significantly, quit smoking, started insulin pump therapy, check my BG 8-10 times a day, and just recently won a battle with insurance for CGMS!
All this I did with the help, support, and guidance of this community. I love it so much.
Kerri: And it loves you, too, George. Seriously. So what can we, as your d-crew, do to help you?
George: Spread the word! If you know someone who lives with diabetes maybe they will find some comfort in these words. Here is a direct link to where you can get the song using iTunes.
Kerri: What's your goal/dream for this song? What kind of a difference do you want to make?
George: My dream would be for this song to help raise awareness about a disease that does not get, in my opinion, the attention it needs. But my goal is to just help touch someone's life and make them feel less afraid, less different, and not alone.
Kerri: And is your offer to take Siah serious? Because I have a box with airholes, postmarked for California, right here beside me ... :)
George: I would in a heartbeat if only my wife was not allergic to cats. Although, now that Siah has started blogging, I would be a little afraid to leave her alone in the house.
Kerri: Good point. Thanks, George. You are something else, my friend.
This song is gorgeous. Chris and I listened to it last night and applauded like mad at the end. I recommend that everyone who has diabetes, or cares for someone with diabetes, downloads this song and adds it to their playlist to provide some much-needed inspiration.
So what are you waiting for? Go! Download! Listen! And for another FOG (Friend Of George) post, check out Scott's post at Diabetes Daily.