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Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

Step Out Champion Alexys Fleming

Diabetes advocacy looks good on this Step Out Champion

Step Out participant Alexys Fleming

Courtesy of Alexys Fleming

If you head out to a Chicago-area Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes®, you’ll probably run into Alexys Fleming. She looks like a typical 21-year-old. That is, until you see her makeup and body-paint tutorials on YouTube. She transforms herself into spooky monsters and divas online.

Having lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 13 years old has helped turn Fleming into something else: a Step Out Champion, someone who raises $1,000 or more for the American Diabetes Association’s movement to Stop Diabetes. In 2012, Fleming raised more than $1,000, and in 2013, she raised more than $5,000. This year, she’s on track to raise $10,000 or more, thanks to donations from some of her more than 400,000 followers on YouTube (youtube.com/madeyewlook). Her fans watch and learn as Fleming demonstrates makeup techniques that turn her into Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid, the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and countless other characters.

Diabetes led Fleming to discover her talents as a makeup artist and body painter. As a student in middle and high schools, she used makeup art to escape the stress of dealing with diabetes—and with classmates and others who didn’t understand her condition. “All the stress of being diagnosed and growing up,” she remembers. “I would come home and do my makeup and become all these different characters, and it went away.”

woman with demonic face paint and colored contact lenses

Courtesy of Alexys Fleming

Diabetes led Fleming to her passion. In addition to her work as a YouTube artist, Fleming is also a licensed aesthetician, a skin-care specialist. She’s able to use her skills to give back: She does videos specifically about diabetes, the American Diabetes Association, and Step Out. She explains how high and low blood glucose episodes feel, and shares how she manages (using insulin pens, counting carbohydrates, and working out at home). A few of the characters she has created are diabetes-specific, such as a “high blood sugar demon” (left) and a character she calls The Injector, a diabetes-themed superhero. She paints kids’ faces at Step Out events, so they can be diabetes superheroes, too.

Fleming’s videos make it obvious she’s passionate about diabetes care and education, even when she’s joking around. “I try to bring light into it, while trying to bring awareness,” she says. “You realize, at that moment, that you’re not alone.”

Find a Step Out Event Near You

Visit diabetes.org/stepout

Top Family Step Out Teams, 2013

These teams went above and beyond last year. Can your family and friends match them?

Elliot’s Team   
Captain: David Allen
Amount Raised: $38,202

Johnny One Time   
Captain: Shawn Gray   
Amount Raised: $33,771

Nicola’s, Carly’s and Debbie’s Team   
Captain: Karen Talmadge, PhD   
Amount Raised: $28,946

The Hans Haverstick Memorial Walkers   
Captain: Chris Guest
Amount Raised: $27,965

Team NCIS
Captain: Bill Baker
Amount Raised: $23,100

Team Gene
Captain: Rita Molitor
Amount Raised: $20,268

Walk This Way
Captain: Brett Kaplowitz
Amount Raised: $20,026

Briana’s Team
Captain: Teresa (Teri) Jimenez
Amount Raised: $19,625

KMAC’s Team
Captain: Kristen MacIver
Amount Raised: $18,628

PB&J
Captain: Lynn Collins
Amount Raised: $18,230

 
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Get to Know

While she’s still spinning music, DJ Spinderella (aka Deidra Roper) is no longer spinning her wheels when it comes to getting the right information to help her family members who have diabetes. Read more >