The handsome, rugged, square-jawed George Canyon, from Nova Scotia, Canada, attended Camp Aldersgate’s diabetes camp
in Little Rock last week.
At the age of 14, Canyon was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. According to his Facebook page
, "George Canyon had planned on being an Air Force pilot. Told he couldn't because of the diabetes, he elected to pursue medicine, then music."
Canyon, who has received
a number of Canadian Country Music Awards and Junos, gained fame in America following his 2004 appearance on Nashville Star 2. Since then, Canyon released the blockbuster albums "One Good Friend" and "Somebody Wrote Love."
A Diabetes Youth Camp was held at Camp Aldersgate
July 11 - 16 in Little Rock, AR. The camp is open to children ages six through 13 who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
, "Canadian country singer George Canyon might be familiar to American audiences as a finalist on the USA cable series, Nashville Star. But the 54 boys and girls at Camp Aldersgate’s diabetes camp in Little Rock know the big guy differently - as one of them, a Type 1 diabetic."
The athletically-built Canyon told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
, “I came to talk to the kids. I want to show them what you can look like 26 years later, if you take care of yourself.” Canyon has lived with diabetes for 26 years.
According to Camp Aldersgate, "George sang some songs for the campers and shared his experiences with diabetes. It was a real treat for the campers!"
Canyon opened his show with the song “Ring of Fire,” and then he began his "chat" with the kids. He told the campers, “I’ve been diabetic longer than you’ve been alive," and then in a light-hearted fashion asked, "Ever stick your finger to get a blood sample for testing, and have droplets of blood squeeze out from other holes in the same finger? Yeah? Ever squirt yourself in the face? Yeah?
How many people do you meet who don’t understand diabetes? How many think they can catch it from you? Well, it’s important that you teach them.”
One of the main points of Canyon's "chat" with the kids was to emphasize that, despite the diabetes, they can do anything they set their minds to. He told the kids, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
, "How many have heard there is something they can’t do because of diabetes? He heard he couldn’t fly, and it made him earn a private pilot’s license, and it makes him keep his health in line to pass his physicals like every other pilot."
Canyon said, “What you want to do is show them you’re able to do it, and do it better than anyone else can.”
An 11-year-old camper named Marley was quoted as saying, "I think he’s a really good musician, and a wonderful adult to look up to. I want to be a musician when I grow up. I like to sing. I like to see another person like me do it."