Made in the 956: Valley author raises awareness about diabetes after personal loss
All month long, as part of our Heart of the Valley initiative, Channel 5 News is bringing you stories about diabetes — and this week's Made in the 956 is no exception.
Valley native David Norec lost his brother and sister to diabetes, but he turned that tragedy into something positive.
For a look at free diabetes screenings throughout the Valley during the month of April, visit our Heart of the Valley Diabetes page.
"I was just going home one day. I was stopped at a stoplight and it was a simple prayer,” Norec said. It was 'God, if you want me to do something different with my life, put it in my heart.' Almost immediately, I got the idea to write this book called, 'The Adventures of Exo and Cy, a play on the word exercise."
And just like that, a story was born.
"The story takes place in OB City, which stands for obesity, where the mayor is Diane Betes, or diabetes,” Norec said. “The first villain is Chip and his dog Nacho, which represents potato chips. And of course, Exo and Cy represent exercise."
David's book has now been recognized locally by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, and he was even selected as one of the top 20 finalists for H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best competition. The book is also getting national attention, catching the eye of producers from the TV show Shark Tank.
"I was selected to be on the TV show on Apple TV and Bloomberg TV called 2-minute Drill with Dave Meltzer," Norec said.
Back here at home, David's partnered up with other local cities to spread the message.
"I partnered up with the South Texas Literacy Coalition, and what we did, we had the story, my story, printed on big metal signs,” Norec said. “And then we placed it along a trail at the Harlingen lake, across from the library so families could walk, read the story and then do the exercises as they read the story."
And it's all to spread awareness.
"If you look at where we live, obesity, diabetes, it is a huge problem. Almost 40 percent of people in the Valley are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. This is a real epidemic,” Norec said. “We're living it right here and there needs to be a change. It's too late for my brother and it's too late for my sister who passed away, but it's not too late for the next generation. We need to get them eating healthy. We need to get them exercising."
As David continues this mission, he knows he's doing it for all the right reasons.
"Knowing my brother and knowing my sister, I know that they'd be looking at me right now with a huge a smile,” Norec said.
David Norec: Made in the 956.