Nick Jonas, who also has type 1 diabetes, invited several kids from Boston's Joslin Diabetes Center to his Wednesday night concert

By Megan Johnson
Updated July 21, 2016 12:35 PM
Credit: Courtesy Joslin Diabetes Center

Nick Jonas knows what it’s like to be a kid living with type 1 diabetes. That’s why the “Close” singer makes time for children going through the same experience.

On Wednesday evening, Jonas welcomed a group of 40 kids and parents from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston to the TD Garden arena, where he was prepping for his Future Now Tour concert with Demi Lovato.

Not only were the kids gifted suites from which they could watch the show at the Garden, but they also got to spend some personal time with the singer before he took the stage.

Dressed casually in jeans and a white Adidas hoodie, the 23-year-old hung out with the kids, who ranged in age from 9 to 17. They had even made a banner with the phrase #JoslinPumped4Jonas, referencing the insulin pumps worn by many type 1 diabetics. Nick shared his story of how he was diagnosed at age 13 and initially came to Joslin for treatment. Ultimately he ended up staying closer to home in New Jersey.

“He was super sweet – he was super focused on them,” an adult attendee told PEOPLE. “He shook all their hands when he walked in and asked them when they were diagnosed.”

Savannah Gagnon, a 14-year-old Joslin patient who idolizes Jonas, was even able to give him a big hug – before bursting into tears.

“I even dressed up like him for a school project,” Savannah recalled. “I love him so much. I wanna cry right now.”

“It is so empowering for our young patients to see a superstar like Nick Jonas who has shared experiences with them as someone with type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Sanjeev Mehta of Joslin told PEOPLE in a statement. “I am confident that Nick has inspired many of our pediatric patients to pursue their dreams, and for him to go out of his way like this means so much.”

Jonas, who kicked off the Future Now tour with Lovato in Atlanta in June, has been open about his struggle with diabetes since his diagnosis. He co-founded Beyond Type 1, a charity focused on raising awareness about the disease, and even testified before the Senate at a hearing on government funding for diabetes research when he was 16.

Nick Jonas: How Having Diabetes Has Changed Me

The star spoke to PEOPLE in 2015 about how his life has changed since his diagnosis 10 years ago.

“Anything that affects your daily life, I think, really shapes who you are as a person and I think having diabetes helped me to develop a real sense of responsibility at an early age because it was something that I had to take on and learn myself,” said Jonas, who wrote the Jonas Brothers song “A Little Bit Longer” about his diagnosis.

“I also felt a responsibility to talk about it and I always say I’m not a role model because I’m perfectly capable of letting you down at times, but I do my best, and as it relates to my diabetes, I want to share it and be honest and help if I can.”