By: Daniel Trecroci
Started as a t-shirt fundraiser, the Divabetic phenomenon is beginning to take on a life of its own. Max Szadek, personal assistant to the late Luther Vandross, once decided to begin selling t-shirts with the word “Divabetic” on them to empower and educate women living with, at risk of, or affected by diabetes.
Now with the help of Novo Nordisk, Divabetic has expanded its outreach efforts to help women with diabetes across the country at Novo Nordisk Presents Divabetic—Makeover Your Diabetes outreach program.
Education, Shape Management and Diva Presentations
Divabetic also offers a mix of diabetes education, shape management and diva presentations at free monthly ‘Bee A DIVA’ meetings. Started in October 2005, the monthly meetings are led by Certified Diabetes Educator and Partner Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN.
Divabetic is a combination of the word ‘diabetic’ and the letter ‘V’ for Vandross.
“I came up with the word Divabetic, thanks to the divine inspiration of legendary singer Patti LaBelle, who revealed that she was also living with diabetes during a Luther tribute concert in New York,“ says Szadek. “I want people to stay healthy and upbeat about their care so that they never have to worry about developing a complication. And acting and thinking like a ‘diva’ seems to help.”
Motivation and Information
The monthly Divabetic meetings are a mix of motivational support, interactive activities and information regarding the A, B, Cs of diabetes.
Bee A DIVA meetings are held at the McBurney YMCA, 125 West 14th Street, NYC and the AVON Training Center, 2235 Fredrick Douglas Blvd., NYC, on the second Monday and Tuesday nights of each month. New topics and activities vary each month. In addition, there is official Divabetic merchandise including coffee mugs, sweatshirts and t-shirts at divabetic.org. Proceeds go toward funding ongoing programming.