Diabetes Advocate Gets INSPIRED for Women

Finding inspiring stories with diabetes is, well… always inspiring.

Today, we’re excited to introduce a woman actually producing a video series called INSPIRED, aimed at motivating women to do anything and everything (while embracing a love for vintage clothing)! The project comes from longtime T1D Vanessa Belani in Pennyslvania, who works as a hospice nurse by day, and moonlights as a ‘professional YouTuber’ making these fun videos that not only aim to inspire women and proote beauty, but also occasionally embrace diabetes.

Please start by watching this brief video that Vanessa and her husband made exclusively for the ‘Mine, explaining what she and her video show’s all about:

And now for our chat with Vanessa…

An Interview with Vanessa Belani

DM) Thanks for connecting, Vanessa! We always like to start with people’s diagnosis stories…

My mom is a nurse, and she is one of those moms where every symptom means we have something horrible… Haha. She was like, “these are signs of type 1 diabetes!” And I just laughed it off saying, “stop it mom, I’m fine!” By that Friday she had me in a doctor’s office to have my urine checked and a blood sugar test. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Anyone else in your family with D?

Nope, I’m the lucky one!

What do you do professionally?

By day, I am a hospice admission nurse. It’s very rewarding work, but I definitely have my days where it’s tough. I am also an actress! Because of needing medical insurance, I unfortunately will never be able to pursue it full time — but I have luckily had my share of commercial jobs and little parts here and there, so I still feel like I get to live my dream part time!

Sounds like you were always interested in entertaining and being on camera…

I’ve been in front of the camera since I was a kid. I used to BEG my grandfather to let me use his camera as a child, and I would force my siblings to be in all my videos with me and I would act and direct the most ridiculous videos… Haha… Super fun to watch now as an adult! As I got older, I started acting in commercials, TV shows, and movies- background at first, then I started getting actual parts in things.

OK, so what’s your INSPIRED series all about?

Inspired is something I started doing because I just really wanted to inspire women especially — to step outside their comfort zone and not care what anyone thinks of them. This goes for their weight and how they want to dress, inspiring all women to believe that we are beautiful, no matter what society tries to make us believe. I also try to inspire men and women to try new things. Like skydiving — one of my favorite activities which I do solo at least a few times per month, and sometimes a few times per week!

The series is not 100% diabetes, but there are a number of D-related videos, right…?

Yes, I have several Inspired diabetes episodes — inspiring other diabetics to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life despite having diabetes. I have some review videos on the t: slim and Dexcom, and most recently for my 15th diaversary, I also made a diabetes music video that’s ridiculous and funny, and just… crazy. All PWDs should definitely check that one out!

Have you done any video interviews with other D-peeps?

Unfortunately none of these yet, beyond some video work I have done for my local JDRF chapter where I interviewed a few diabetics at our gala this year. It was a Gatsby theme and everyone looked so awesome! Lots of fun!

Right after it ended everyone was messaging me saying, “are we doing this next year? I’m in if so!” So yes, it looks like it will be a yearly thing to raise funds. Next year, I’ll probably get a bigger location, and raise additional funds with a silent auction and raffles.

Any other diabetes advocacy you’re involved with?

I also do a video blog for my local chapter of the JDRF. It’s all about topics we type 1s deal with and I try to do it in a funny way — which is my personality. No need to be depressed or upset with life. I enjoy everything, and do all the things I put my mind to. That’s what it’s all about in life — being inspired to do anything and everything you want!

Thanks for sharing your story and that special video, Vanessa! We look forward to seeing what else you produce for INSPIRED and for our Diabetes Community.

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a leading consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community that joined ishonest Media in 2015. The Diabetes Mine team is made up of informed patient advocates who are also trained journalists. We focus on providing content that informs and inspires people affected by diabetes.

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