Just after he turned sixteen, Noah Moore got type 1 diabetes forChristmas. It didn't seem like a gift at the time, but it sent himon a journey of creative diabetes advocacy that has made his lifeinto a gift to us all.
Almost immediately after his diagnosis, Noah beat his fear of publicspeaking to become a youth advocate for the ADA. He followed thatwith self-sponsored trips around South America and China to visitdiabetes clinics, learning about what it means to have diabetes incountries where two people own pumps and the rest have to scroungeto buy insulin and test strips. And while he traveled, he learnedhow to use the street circus subculture to showcase his mission of diabetes advocacy.
Noah is a performance artist who uses the theatrical traditions ofvaudeville to draw people to his powerful messages about living withdiabetes. He and his brother have developed a compelling circus showof acrobatics, fire juggling, and multi-cultural street art, usingthe tricks of those trades as metaphors for the elements ofsuccessful diabetes management. With their various juggling acts,they bring home their lessons about creativity, uniqueness, balance,focus, and failure when it comes to diabetes management.
Noah says, "We use the performance as a microphone to get theattention of audiences, and then we are able to relate simpletangible messages to all age groups." For example, "During the fireact, we talk about focusing all of your attention on the task athand, whether it's managing diabetes or doing your homework." Intertwined with an extremely difficult technical juggling act isthe message of balance, in diabetes and in life. The message offailure, based upon dropping juggling balls, is that "if you're notdropping anything, you're not learning; you're not pushing yourselfto a level where mistakes are made. We're not perfect; that's what Iremind the audience with that act: It wasn't easy for anybody who'sbeen diagnosed, and you have to learn and grow."
And the final message is about focusing on the right now, thepresent moment, "because you can't be worrying about what yourcontrol has been in the past or what people say could happen to youin the future. The only time you can make changes is right now."That's the guiding philosophy of the whole show and the underlyingprinciple behind the official name of the brothers' act: TheInstruments of the Now.
This summer Noah and his brother are bringing their show to diabetescamps, which "is more gratifying than any other type ofperformance." So far, they've been to about sixteen camps, wherethey do their show for the kids and then spend the next day showingthe children how to make their own juggling balls, teaching them basic tricks, and then helping them invent their own tricks.
Noah is especially proud of the fact that they have receivedstanding ovations from the children. He says that after theirperformances, the campers are full of excitement, sitting on theircamp beds and talking about how they can apply the messages to theirown lives. "Not in my wildest dreams," he says, "did I think thatthey would be actively talking about that."
There is no cost to the camps, which are run almost exclusively byvolunteers, so Noah and his brother scrape together gas and foodmoney by performing at summer festivals and collecting money intheir hats. Lifescan helped with an initial grant, and the brothersare officially a fiscally-sponsored non-profit, so they can fundraise and offer taxwrite-offs to their donors. Noah hopes that by the end of theirsummer at the diabetes camps, he and his brother will be able tocover their costs. It looks a little dicey at the moment becausetheir van's transmission just fell apart, and the repair bill blewtheir budget completely.
Noah hopes to go to even more camps next year, but of course itdepends on whether he can raise the money to do it. To find out moreabout the brothers and perhaps contribute to their mission, go towww.noahsvoyage.com.