Divabetic - Offering Confidence and Inspiration


Divabetic - Offering Confidence and Inspiration

By Kerri Morrone

Kerri_Morrone1"It's free, it's fun, and it's full of information. What's not to love?" said one visitor, holding a champagne flute of sparkling water in her hand and a packet of information from the Makeover Maze.

Divabetic offers something to the diabetes community that is unique and essential – a serious boost in confidence. So much of diabetes management includes scrutinizing numbers and focusing on food, which can be overwhelming. By approaching daily diabetes duties with a smile and some sass, Divabetic helps give women the confidence they need to better handle their diabetes lives.

This year was my second year visiting Divabetic in NYC, so I was prepared for the feather boas and the inspirational speakers, though no less impressed. Founder Max Szadek and his friends took the stage by storm, encouraging visitors to learn more about their EAGs and blood pressure numbers over at "Denial's Not My Style." With a big purple feather boa and an even bigger smile, diabetes educator Joy Pape (a longtime contributor to dLife) helped educate women about their numbers, the facts about diabetes, and offered tips on preventing diabetes-related complications. According to the handouts at the station, "Know your numbers so you know where you are and where you are going."

"Novo Nordisk Presents: Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes is a free outreach program that takes diabetes education out of the clinical setting and into an empowering and energetic environment for women," said Max. "Since 2006, more than 2,800 women affected by diabetes and their guests across the United States have experienced this diva brand of diabetes outreach. We've found that intimate conversations with educators and other women affected by diabetes alongside beauty makeovers, music and fun can have an amazing impact on improving a woman's attitude about diabetes and lift her spirits."

These women entered Gotham Hall in NYC a little shy at first, but after just a few minutes, their heads were held high and they seemed open to talking about their diabetes. "I'm not sure if what I'm eating affects my numbers," said one Divabetic attendee. "I just thought I could take my pill and go on with my day." After some one-on-one counseling with a consultant at "Grab Green & Go," the diva-in-training left knowing how to become a better eater instead of perfect eater.

Then there were the bold and beautiful models, strutting their stuff in style on behalf of either their own diabetes or the diagnosis of someone they love. These women - of all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes – worked the stage and had the audience applauding wildly.

Divabetic also changes the lives of the people who volunteer. Jeff Jones, the former make-up artist to Luther Vandross and stylist to the stars, worked the makeover section, helping bring out the beautiful best in these women with diabetes. "This helps make these women feel confident," he said. "It feels good to help make that happen." And a little bit of confidence goes a long way in empowering people to make good decisions regarding their health.

Even Aida Romaine, part of the Divabetic team and billed by Max as "the most glamorous human salad" in her all-green outfit, brought a sassy sense of understanding to the concept of healthy eating. "I taste delicious. Don't you want more greens? Aida Romaine, you eat-a romaine – you get it?" Her infectious grin made her a favorite for photos and an approachable source of good information.

"It's about creating an entourage of care," said Divabetic founder Max Szadek, former personal assistant to Luther Vandross. "You can glam more in efforts to fear less." Armed with information and inspiration, these new divas were released back into New York City, ready to take on their diabetes management with style and confidence.

PREVIOUS: Divabetic: Bettering Lives, One Feather Boa at a Time

Last Modified Date: June 19, 2013

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