Diabetes,  Interviews,  Shout outs

A Chat with Alexis of the Blue Heel Society

Every once in a while I have the chance to interview some pretty awesome people from the Diabetes Community.  Over the last week or so, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with my good friend Alexis Newell about a cause near and dear to her, The Blue Heel Society.  Below are the questions and answers that came from our chat.  Enjoy!

Could you please introduce yourself to the readers? Where are you from, etc…?

Hi! My name is Alexis Newell, I am from Brooklyn, New York originally, but I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am a fulltime working mama and wife. I love all things fashion, and music. I am completely devoted to spreading awareness and advocating for the Diabetes community and for everyone living with the disease. I am beyond thrilled and honored to be “here” to chat with you Mike!

Alexis
What is your connection to diabetes?

I actually have multiple connections to Diabetes.

I am a D mama (woot woot!) of a 9 year old with Type 1 Diabetes. My son, Justice, who is my personal superhero, was diagnosed just a few days after turning 6. He was in DKA, and had what’s called sudden onset Type 1. He went from no symptoms to symptoms and DKA in 72 hours. That is when I became a strong advocate for Type 1 diabetes. I started blogging, tweeting and working with JDRF about a year later. I knew from day 1 it was meant for me to be his mother and him my son. My job is to be his pancreas day in and day out, and to advocate for him whenever necessary.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Type 2 when I was 10 years old. It was later realized that she was a type 1. That was my first experience with carbs, shots, BG checks, etc.

In 2010, my husband was diagnosed with type 2, and just a year later my father.

I had a realization that Type 2 needed awareness and advocacy as well. Sadly diabetes is one of the few diseases where the patient is blamed and ridiculed, especially Type 2.  Diabetes seems to be my calling, in every sense. And I am so in love with the community we have; we are truly blessed.

 

So, what’s this Blue Heel Society that I keep hearing about? – How did that come about? – What’s the mission of BHS? – Who is involved?

Thank you for asking about The Blue Heel Society. We are an advocacy organization designed to focus the spotlight on people who live with or care for a person diagnosed with diabetes. We chose our symbol, The Blue Heel, because we thought that the heel represented what a person living with diabetes, either Type 1 or 2, LADA, gestational….1.5, whichever, must look like to the outside world. The shoe…is just beautiful.

The representation is, that our heels cause pain, discomfort, and a host of other issues not always made visible. We chose the heel as a way of saying people with diabetes do look perfectly fine on the outside. That doesn’t mean a silent war isn’t raging on the inside…and it wasn’t a choice. We can take the proverbial heel off….they can’t. So we agreed that the heel represented our allegiance to promoting awareness and advocacy and helping to ultimately find a cure. And who doesn’t speak “shoe”??

Our hope, with our Society, is to accomplish several goals. Number one on the list is to use the inclusive simplicity of wearing blue shoes to further diabetes advocacy. We intend to foster awareness about the daily difficulties all persons living with diabetes and their caregivers are faced with, including financial and emotional tolls, and use our meet up campaigns…our “Shoe-ins” as a way for people to connect, network, and show support for each other all while uniformly working toward the same goal. It’s inclusive, fun, and it’s an easy way to show love and support without any financial or time commitments. You simply wear a blue shoe. We hope that in doing so, our efforts are one day recognizable world wide. If you see a person wearing the blue shoe, you immediately think Diabetes Awareness and Advocacy. Much like several ribbon campaigns which use a specific color to define who they are advocating so eloquently for and foundations that use sneakers or blue circles…..we all have the same goal. We want a cure for all people living with diabetes.

 

The Blue Heel Society co-founders include myself, Diane Pridmore and Tony Cervati.
Diane Pridmore is a stay at home mom with four kids in Boston. She is active in several women’s groups and civic organizations. She became heavily involved in the DOC after her son was dx with t1 on 3/4/10 at age 3. She remains outspoken about the lack of proper media attention to the diabetes epidemic. She is an avid shoe shopper, addicted to Halloween decorations and once confused John Madden with Steve Madden.

Diane
Tony Cervati is the father of two boys, and has battled Type 1 diabetes for 34 years. He is an active member of the DOC and is known for his blogs about being an endurance mountain bike racer. Last year, Tony was the first Type 1 diabetic to attempt the longest, unassisted mountain bike race in the world, the Tour Divide. He uses social media and twitter to post his blood sugar readings and lives openly about his day to day management with Type 1 diabetes. You can follow Tony on Twitter @type1rider or read his blogs at www.type1rider.org and www.29ercrew.com.

Tony

And then, well, there is the DOC for which we could not be more grateful. They are our support, our sisters, and brothers, our friends, our reason. Without the existence of the Diabetic Online Community we could not have found each other or have found an avenue to channel our passions together. It is these people who take our calls at 2 am, and offer advice and encouragement day in and day out, who make up the real Blue Heel Society

How can other people get involved?

If you want to know how to become involved with our organization….slip your foot into something Blue-tiful and log on….

We can be found at www.BlueHeelSociety.org where we post about our mission and our meet ups. Our inaugural meet up is scheduled for Saturday February 4, in Boston and we are finalizing our venue now…so be sure to check the blog for details. We are on twitter @BlueHeelSociety and we are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BlueHeelSociety. We have our email and phone numbers listed on all of our media sites so we ask you simply contact us with questions and let us know how we can help in your community. We are in the works putting together a Blue Heel Walk…and so many other fantastic events. Please come check us out!

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about BHS?

We are an advocacy campaign for all kinds of diabetes. No one is left behind or left out!

Type 1 or 2, old or new, ANYONE CAN ROCK A BLUE SHOE!

Many thanks to Alexis for taking time to talk with us about the Blue Heel Society. Take some time to check them out and show some love.

Mike

Living with a Confusing Pancreas and a Broken Heart at age 35 #Diabetes #LADA #CongestiveHeartFailure. #MakeDiabetesVisible Creator, #ALittleHeartCanDoBigThings Creator, Advocate, Blogger, Nature Photographer.

6 Comments

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    alexis

    You know how I feel about you already, but just in case…….love love love you!

    And thank you for being one of the first men to jump in and show support. You’re awesome.

    *Typos not included. 😉

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    Mike Hoskins

    Great interview, Mike. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been so very behind in blog reading and commenting, and hadn’t actually found the time to really get my head around the Blue Heel Society. But this helps a lot, and I’m very impressed. Another example of great things happening in the Diabetes Community, online and offline.

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    FatCatAnna

    Mike – darn pump is demanding I go test my BG … NOW – but wait – first must say – great blog – and now I understand more of why the society was formed. I think Alexis took the words right out of my mouth as to how a diabetic looks to the outside world. The times I’ve been told, when folks find out that I’ve got diabetes, that I don’t “look” diabetic sometimes totally floors me. Then when I tell them the length of time – almost 45 years for me – they say – oh – you have the bad diabetes. Now, I’ll just have to get them to use their search engine for The Blue Heel Society – and really find out what diabetes is ALL about!!! Okay – off to test BG!!!