“The Diabetes Dude” is everywhere! He travels around the country sharing his story and promoting the Flamingo Flock. Who is the Diabetes Dude? It’s Noah Brokmeier! He and his family started the Flamingo Flock to spread diabetes awareness, through their efforts, there are blue flamingos all over the world! Noah and his family were interviewed for “Caught Blue Handed” for their amazing work. “Caught Blue Handed” is a way for me to highlight individuals and organizations that promote diabetes awareness.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you like to do?
I am a ten year old boy from Taunton, MA that does all the same things that most kids do. I play soccer in the fall, and love to play video games all the time. The biggest thing I like doingis going across the country and meeting with people from all over and learning things about the country. I have Type 1 Diabetes, and use the Omnipod for insulin management. I was diagnosed almost 4 years ago in Oct 2007. I started The Diabetes Dude almost 3 years ago on my diagnosis day after wondering what I wanted to do to help spread awareness about my life with diabetes.
Why are you so passionate about diabetes? And helping others with diabetes?
I have diabetes. That is what makes me really want to do what I do. There are so many people out there, kids, teens, adults, elderly, that have type 1 and these people should be recognized as being great people! Not very many people understand diabetes. And I want them too. We live by the thought that with more education and awareness, there will be more understanding and cooperation to help all of us living with diabetes make our dreams of a cure become a reality. I love meeting with people and hearing the stories they have. I think of all of them as my friends and hope they all know that together we can make a difference. My family saw all the good that comes out of every group that is trying to help people with Diabetes, but noticed that they all work separately. What The Diabetes Dude wants to do is to show everyone that there is good being done by everyone, and that together, we can accomplish anything!
What is the Flamingo Flock?
The Flamingo Flock is a campaign that started 2 years ago to help spread diabetes awareness. I started it as a local campaign to raise funds for our local chapter of one of the big Diabetes organizations. We would place Blue Flamingos on people’s lawnto help spread awareness. It was the hope that most people see Pink Flamingos on lawns, but if the flamingo were blue (the color to signify diabetes awareness), people would start to talk and get involved. It started locally, spread throughout my home state,then nationally, and now, internationally. It is a symbol we thought would be great to stand behind and get people to notice diabetes, and people living their lives with diabetes. Without everyone saying what they THINK diabetes is, and hearing from peoplethat LIVE with diabetes.
Well, like I said, it was because we saw so many people using the pink flamingo lawn ornaments on their front lawns and thought it would be cool to add something to get people to recognize. Then my Dad starting doing a little more digging into flamingos, because we hear that question all the time; and flamingos really are a lot like the entire diabetes community. It is pretty cool. Flamingos get their color from the food they eat. So in order to be a healthy flamingo, a proper diet is very important. With diabetes, it doesn’t mean you CAN’T eat foods, it just means that eating the right foods is very important. The part I like most about flamingos is something we found out about their social lives. Flamingos live together in HUGE communities, like the Diabetes Online Community. And when there is a threat against the flock, the entire flock huddles together and protects each other from harm. We all do that in the diabetes community. So, it is pretty cool that the flamingo does all that and it would be cool if the entire diabetes community could use the blue flamingo as a symbol of us being one huge Flock!
Who else is involved with the Flamingo Flock?
The Flock is all the Diabetics in the world that want to Spread Awareness to everyone, everywhere. The main team behind the flock is my entire family. Mom does all of the events and promotions. Dad helps me in the talks and goes with me to events. My little brother Koda helps me at all the big events handing out flyers and being part of the family to explain what it’s like being a brother to a T1D kid. My big sister, Bean, (her real name is Leah), helps me all the time with being a cool big sister and showing people that I am still her little brother, and that I shouldn’t be treated any differently. And my other sister, Dana, is the person behind Dancing Danie, the Diabetes Flamingo! She helps spread awareness and gets younger kids involved by playing games, dancing, and having fun. Showing kids that, “we have diabetes, diabetes does not have us!” She does a great job and has really helped the Flock grow! Dad calls us kids, “the Crew”. We do everything together!
How can people get involved with the Flamingo Flock?
Basically, if you spread awareness, you are part of the flock! We have been giving out the Blue Flamingos for two years now and people that wish to receive one can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It takes us a little time to get them out, because we can only ship them in the spring. But we work every Spring to get out as many as possible. We just want people to use the Blue Flamingo to spread awareness in any way they can. The best way to let theworld know about the Flamingo, and Diabetes, is to do it together. So if you are using the Blue Flamingo to spread awareness, you should take a picture of you doing something with the Flamingo, and send it to me. Mom will post it on my website, www.thediabetesdude.com, we can show the world that the Blue Flamingo Flock is HUGE!
Thank you The Diabetes Dude & the Brokmeier Family, you have officially been
Caught Blue Handed!