A conversation with Captain Glucose and Meter Boy

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Captain Glucose and Meter Boy took the world of diabetes by storm with their heroic acts, bringing hope to the lives of many people touched by diabetes.

Watch their video and read their story:

For those who are unfamiliar with your mission as superheroes, can you enlighten us?
Enlighten is a great word and fits right in with what we are all about: Our mission is to educate, enlighten and entertain people with diabetes of all ages. The main job of the Captain Glucose and Meter Boy (The Diabetes Duo) is to spread diabetes awareness, information, and good will. We’re not really superheroes but we play them on TV! The real superheroes are people with diabetes who fight the good fight of controlling it every day and not having it control them. It is a 24/7 job and those who fight this battle get no blue ribbons, or trophies, or even praise.

It is our objective to encourage those who are already veteran diabetics, provide basic information to those who are newly diagnosed, and make others aware that they need to check with their doctor to see if they are at risk. Captain Glucose and Meter Boy hope to do their small part in making people realize that diabetes is a serious disease but when you’re in control you can still find time to enjoy life. We believe in the old adage that “Laughter is the Best Medicine” and hope that our entertaining approach can give people a chuckle or two while they are learning the important things needed to control their diabetes. What Smokey the Bear does for fire awareness, we hope to do for diabetes awareness.

How did the idea of Captain Glucose and Meter Boy come up?
Our alter egos (Bill Kirchenbauer and Brad Slaight – ssshh, don’t tell anyone) are both real life diabetics. Bill is a Type 2 and Brad has had Type 1 diabetes for 24 years. We’re both comedians and actors and have worked on a number of television and film projects together. When Bill was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago we found out we had much more in common than just being friends who were both in show business. We discussed how complicated diabetes seems to a newly diagnosed patient. We wanted to do something to help with the cause and so we put our collective creative heads together and came up with Captain Glucose and Meter Boy. These characters started as a cartoon sketch on paper and have since fully developed to real men in tights!

What has been the response you have received to your diabetes dynamic duo?
From real diabetics it has been phenomenal. We have struck a chord with people who, like us, feel that a lot of diabetes information is presented in such a glum and serious manner that it gets in the way of the message. Those we meet seem to appreciate our more entertaining approach to how we spread the word. Ours is still a serious message, but with the colorful costumes and comedic spirit it has found a welcome audience.

Our hardest mission so far certainly has been to get our approach through to the companies that make diabetic products. It’s as if they are afraid to look at diabetes other than in a grave and somber way. We feel that these characters would make great commercial spokesmen for glucose meters and other diabetes products but have yet to get much response from the marketing departments of the big companies that sell diabetes products. We believe that entertaining and informing people with diabetes would be a pleasant change from the way diabetic products are currently marketed.

There is a quote by the late Walt Disney that we’ve adapted a bit. He said, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” For us it’s more like, “We would rather entertain and hope that people learn something, than to have them be bored and learn nothing.”

I read on your web site that you have plans for an upcoming comic book and a DVD. Can you share with us when they will be released?
We’ve written a full length “Adventures of Captain Glucose and Meter Boy” script and hope to make a DVD that will be available to all people with diabetes. The script is full of diabetes information that is presented in an entertaining way. We feel that there is a huge need for something like that and there are millions of people who would benefit from it.

We have lined up several celebrities for the DVD and an award winning director. We are seeking sponsorship but have yet to get much interest from the companies who make huge profits from their diabetic products. We joke that if we had a penny for every dollar we’ve spent on test strips and other diabetes supplies we could film about a dozen of these kinds of DVD’s!

The comic book is something we’ve wanted to do from the beginning. We hired an illustrator to design a cover together for us and are extremely pleased with how it turned out. It captures the spirit of what we plan to do with it. In the comic book we will have more powers than what we have in real life which are needed to fight the evil forces of diabetes with villains like “Pancretin” and the dreaded “Blood Sugar Maniac”.

Right now we’re writing up the script for it and also plan on approaching diabetes companies for sponsorship. They could pass them out at live events and use them as a powerful teaching tool. The comic book will be geared for people of all ages, full of diabetes information, and most of all it will be a fun read. We expect even non-diabetics to enjoy reading it.

What are the top three things you recommend to someone who has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Learn all you can about diabetes
  3. Take control of your diabetes from Day 1

We’d follow that up by telling them that if you take care of yourself you can live a long, long long…did we say long…life! You are the leader of your diabetes team. Even though you work with professional doctors, nurses, and diabetes educators, you are the one who has it 24/7 and therefore you are the one who must educate yourself about how to control it. Also, don’t be afraid to let others around you know about your special needs. Knowledge is power and that means educating others so that in the event you have a hypo they will know what to do.

Okay, that’s more than three things, but we’ve never been that good in math.

How about type 2 diabetes?
Probably the same three things.

Most of the time, not always, a Type 2 is diagnosed later in life and they have to change lifestyle habits that took a long time to form. Making changes to one’s diet and exercise patterns can pay huge dividends. We’ve found that many Type 2 diabetics admit that they feel better now and are in better shape than if they didn’t have diabetes. By watching what they eat, exercising more, and just plain being aware of having a health problem has actually made their quality of life better.

Anything else you would like to share with the community?
Our motto is “Be Your Own Personal Superhero!” By that we mean that all people with diabetes have the power to take charge of their diabetes and win the battle. Every day when you get up is a new day and regardless of what diabetes dishes out, you have the power to seize the day and control it. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, we all do. Keep in mind that the next morning when you get up you have a chance to start anew.

As diabetics, it’s great to know that we are not alone…there are many great doctors and diabetes educators who will help us. Added to that, we have the ADA, JDRF, and hundreds of organizations working to find a cure. We also have many great tools in our “diabetic tool belt” to work with such as state-of-the-art glucose meters, insulin pumps, medications, diet, and exercise.

We always encourage people to take advantage of all the information that is available on the Internet and visit the excellent and informative blogs like Kerri Morrone’s “Six Until Me” and Scott Strumello’s “Scott’s Web Blog.” And of course, you are reading this because you are part of the great community at TuDiabetes. When it comes right down to it - every diabetic has the ability to truly be their own personal superhero!

Find out more about the Diabetes Duo at www.captainglucoseandmeterboy.com or www.myspace.com/captainglucoseandmeterboy.

Previous Member Spotlights

Consider teaming up with Mr. Diabetes® who will complete his eight-year, 10,000+ mile walk of the US perimeter this December at a special event in Sarasota, Florida focusing on his journey AND promoting healthy active families! Check out www.POPSExtras.org for information on The Florida Orange Festival - the event to celebrate this remarkable trek!!

If the Superheros could join us at the event - even better!

Judy Dean