Throughout the month, as part of our Heart of the Valley initiative, Channel 5 News brings 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 an overview of free diabetes screenings across the valley during the month of April, visit our Heart of the Valley Diabetes page.
“I was driving home one day. I was stopped at a red light 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 had the idea of writing 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, who represents chips. And of course, Exo and Cy represent exercise.”
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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 in HE-B’s Quest for Texas Best competition. The book also garnered national attention, catching the attention of the producers of the television show Shark Tank.
“I was selected to be on the Apple TV and Bloomberg TV show called 2-Minute Drill with Dave Meltzer,” Norec said.
At home, David has partnered with other local towns to spread the message.
“I partnered with the South Texas Literacy Coalition, and what we did was we had the story, my story, printed on big metal signs,” Norec said. “And then we put it along a path by Lake Harlingen, in front of the library so families could walk around, read the story and then do the exercises while they read the story. “
And that’s all to raise awareness.
“If you look at where we live, obesity, diabetes, it’s a huge problem. Almost 40 percent of people in the valley are either diabetic or prediabetic. It’s a real epidemic,” Norec said. “We live this is here and there has 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 owe them healthy eating. We have to get them to exercise.”
As David pursues this mission, he knows he is doing it for all the right reasons.
“Knowing my brother and knowing my sister, I know they would be looking at me right now with a huge smile,” Norec said.
David Norec: Made in 956.