Lloyd Boston and Diabetic Nerve Pain Awareness
Danielle Galian: "Walk in My Shoes" is basically about educating sufferers and non sufferers about diabetic nerve pain. Apart from this educational element, what message do you hope the public gains from the campaign?
Lloyd Boston: It's a real issue that many women and men across the country suffer from. It's personal for me because my aunt Mary is one of those women, she's one of my favorite aunts actually. I love her cooking - that's probably why I love her so much. But what I want people to know is that like my aunt Mary and other people that suffer from type 2 diabetes, diabetic nerve pain is very different. And I'm taking part in the walk just to make noise and raise awareness about it because people don't realize they can be treated. My aunt Mary was complaining about a tingling in her feet like a pins and needles feeling in her feet and her toes. I actually didn't realize this can be treated and I encouraged her to speak to her doctor about it. And through this process, I learned that about 5 million people suffer from this same thing. It (nerve pain) is not diabetes but a separate issue. So I'm kind of getting off the red carpet where people are used to seeing me, I'm getting out of my tux for a change and I'm putting on some comfy sneakers and doing the walk for the Walk in My Shoes team.
DG: You certainly have an emotional connection to this disease through your aunt. So from your own experience, what advice would you give to family and friends of diabetic nerve pain sufferers? How can they better help those they love cope with this disease?
LB: Like I did and many people can do, just let your loved ones know that this isn't something they just have to manage or cope with. There are treatments out there that can equal relief. But they have to talk to their healthcare provider. I'm not a doctor by any means but I do know that there are treatments available and if they have these feelings and sensations they should have it looked at. Aunt Mary was diagnosed with neuropathy, which is a big word for diabetic nerve pain. There are a lot of strong people out there. And my aunt is a very strong woman who does not like to complain. We all have those people in our family who just get through the day and feel like it's not a big deal when in fact they can really improve the way they feel by facing it head on.
DG: Great advice. I heard you've designed something for the walk?
LB: No, I haven't designed anything for the walk. I'm getting out there and putting on a different type of outfit which people don't know me for. So maybe they're speaking of that. I'm putting together a cool track suit and lacing up my sneakers. I'm going to be there raising awareness, making some noise, doing the 5K walk. I love to walk and hike myself so this isn't a stretch for me. And when most people around me on the red carpet are usually complaining about their high heels, this is a time for men and women to get out there and have a comfortable day and exercise and make some noise about this disease.
DG: Switching gears a little bit, for people who don't suffer from this disease and/or don't know anyone who suffers from diabetic nerve pain, how can they get involved in this campaign?
LB: Even though people may not think they know anyone who suffers from diabetic nerve pain, people may be suffering in silence. So it's absolutely cool for everybody to get involved. There's a really easy website they can go to - walkinmyshoes.info - and there's everything they need to know on the site talking about my experience with my aunt and there's other stories on the site. So I think it's something everybody can get involved with even if they think they don't know someone who suffers because often times people don't say a word about it and I think that's the whole point of the walk.