People to Know 2017: Brec Bassinger
If you think type 1 diabetes takes the fun out of life, consider how actress Brec Bassinger celebrated her 18th birthday: “I went skydiving,” she says. “I went to Vegas. I’ve been to the beach, playing sand volleyball. I’ve been roller-skating. I’ve done so many things this week alone.”
Brec subscribes to the same philosophy I do: With good management, there’s nothing people with type 1 diabetes can’t accomplish. That includes acting, which she’s been doing since she was 13. Despite long workdays and tight filming schedules, she makes diabetes her No. 1 priority.
“The main worry I have is getting low blood sugar,” says Brec, whose breakout role on Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs often had her doing sprints as football quarterback Bella. “One time we were filming on location at this big football stadium. I felt my blood sugar going lower, and I was like, ‘I need to eat something, but we’re running out of time [to film]!’ ” Despite the rush to wrap the scene, Brec paused to treat her low.
Such diligence is all part of a daily routine that involves regular finger sticks to check her blood glucose, insulin injections, and carb counting—but she doesn’t let the disease prevent her from accomplishing her dreams. Brec currently stars in Nickelodeon’s School of Rock and the comedy film Status Update. She also serves as a JDRF Celebrity Ambassador. In the role, she uses her talent and voice to raise awareness and funding for type 1 diabetes research, lending her support to JDRF’s Children’s Congress and National Diabetes Awareness Month. Most recently, she collaborated with GuiltySoles on designing two pairs of sky-high shoes. A portion of the proceeds will go toward type 1 research
That’s something Brec and I have in common (aside from a type 1 diagnosis at age 8 and a fondness for math, of course)—a desire to use our ability as type 1 role models to bring about change and foster community. “Whenever I meet another person with type 1, there’s this instant connection,” she says. “I’ve met so many people that I might not have met without diabetes.”
When I spoke with Brec, I was blown away by all she’s accomplished at such a young age. But what really struck me was her dedication to empowering other teens with type 1 diabetes. Her message? “Type 1 diabetes doesn’t change who you are,” she says. “You’re still a wonderful, beautiful human being. You can do whatever you want to do.”
The Author:Austin Basis is an actor best known for his role as J.T. Forbes on the CW’s Beauty and the Beast—through which he inspired fans to help raise thousands of dollars for diabetes research. He’s vocal about his type 1 diagnosis and advocates for further research toward a cure. Find him in the Hulu comedy Casual and the YouTube web series Not Your Buddy.