I recently became familiar with the Blue Heel Society and asked one of the co-founders, Diane Pridmore, to be apart of my “Caught Blue Handed” feature. “Caught Blue Handed” is a way for me to highlight individuals and organizations that promote diabetes awareness.
I am a stay at home mom to four wonderful children. I live in Boston MA. I grew up in rural western North Carolina but traded the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the hustle and bustle of the big city in 2003. I enjoy shoe shopping…no point in sugar coating it. I am heavily involved in my children’s sports and dance classes and that leaves me with minimal free time…so when I find some…and it happens…I actually am kind of a science geek…and a space nerd. Little known fact about me….I am addicted to Halloween decorations.
Why are you passionate about diabetes?
My life was completely changed on March 4. 2010 when my then three year old son Andrew was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This diagnosis came from out of no where and permanently altered my path as his mother. I became a nurse, a compounding pharmacist, a mathematician, a pediatric endocrinologist and nutritionist on that day….only 5 weeks after my baby daughter was born.
What is the Blue Heel Society? What do you hope to accomplish?
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 that 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. 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 for so eloquently for and foundations who use sneakers or blue circles…..we all have the same goal. We want a cure for all people living with diabetes.
Who else is involved with the Blue Heel Society?
Alexis Newell is a married, working mom of two boys and has lived her life surrounded by people who are diabetic. Her grandmother is a Type 1, bothher father and her husband are Type 2, and on October 21, 2008 her oldest son, Justice, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She immersed herself in the DOC and began to use social media and blogging as a source of advocacy and became a mentor and walk- chairperson for the JDRF in Nevada. You can read all about Alexis and her family on her blog, http://www.justicesmisbehavingpancreas.blogspot.com/, or follow her on Twitter @sugar_nova.
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.
And then, well, there is the DOC without whom 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 are the real Blue Heel Society.
How can people get involved with the Blue Heel Society?
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!
Thank you Blue Heel Society, you have officially been Caught Blue Handed!