When Miss Idaho 2014 Sierra Sandison was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2012, she opted to take shots, instead of the more convenient option of an insulin pump, because she didn’t want to have a visible medical device while competing in pageants.
Motivated by former Miss America Nicole Johnson, who also has Type 1 Diabetes, Sierra recently made the brave decision to wear her pump during the bikini competition — and became the first Miss America contestant to do so.
In doing so, she not only made a powerful statement about body image, but also inspired others in the diabetes community.
“The media often tells us this lie: If your appearance deviates in any way from cover girls, movie stars, super models, etc., it is a flaw and something is wrong with you,” she writes on her blog.
“Well guess what? Miss America 1999 has an insulin pump, and it doesn’t make her any less beautiful. In fact, in my mind, it enhances her beauty!”
On her blog, Sierra also recalls the first night of the competition, when she met McCall Salinas, the current Miss Idaho Outstanding Preteen and a fellow diabetic. McCall shared her hesitations about wearing a pump to compete—but after seeing Sierra bravely face the competition with her pump, she changed her mind.
“We bonded over diabetes and pageants, and by the end of the night, she told her mom she was ready to get a pump. It brought me to tears,” the 20-year-old explains.
“The thought that I could be one person’s ‘Nicole Johnson’ meant more to me than I can ever put into words. Now, with the title of Miss Idaho, I have had a million new opportunities to spread the word about diabetes and overcoming obstacles! I am overwhelmed with hearing how many lives have been touched by me simply wearing my pump on stage. It means so much to me, and I hope I can touch many more during my year as Miss Idaho.”
And so far, she has.
Sierra created the hashtag “#showyourpump” to inspire others to embrace their bodies and their pumps—and so far, she’s been met with amazing success.
So glad that #showmeyourpump is spreading! Maybe people will actually know what my insulin pump is! pic.twitter.com/X4bv0u6AcM— Charlotte Tuohy (@lottie2oui) July 18, 2014
So glad that #showmeyourpump is spreading! Maybe people will actually know what my insulin pump is! pic.twitter.com/X4bv0u6AcM
From Turkey, İstanbul... I show my insulin pump. #showmeyourpump @sierra_anne93 pic.twitter.com/DqtuGuNCuI— DiyabetimBen (@DiyabetimBen) July 18, 2014
From Turkey, İstanbul... I show my insulin pump. #showmeyourpump @sierra_anne93 pic.twitter.com/DqtuGuNCuI
#type1diabetes #showmeyourpump pic.twitter.com/8fw2OmltWq— Airica Cooper (@airicaregan) July 18, 2014
#type1diabetes #showmeyourpump pic.twitter.com/8fw2OmltWq
@sierra_anne93 is so inspiring and empowering.. #showmeyourpump with my favorite diabetics. :) pic.twitter.com/dEbGbxCYSK— Erin Tudryn (@ErinTudryn03) July 16, 2014
@sierra_anne93 is so inspiring and empowering.. #showmeyourpump with my favorite diabetics. :) pic.twitter.com/dEbGbxCYSK
Good on @sierra_anne93 for the ole #showmeyourpump thing. Let's hope pump kids feel more confident thru it. pic.twitter.com/27AqP4mptm— everyday ups & downs (@everydayupsdwns) July 16, 2014
Good on @sierra_anne93 for the ole #showmeyourpump thing. Let's hope pump kids feel more confident thru it. pic.twitter.com/27AqP4mptm
@LawrPhil had to copy your idea #showmeyourpump pic.twitter.com/qPElvYnXi8— Sarah Edwards (@curlysarah56) July 16, 2014
@LawrPhil had to copy your idea #showmeyourpump pic.twitter.com/qPElvYnXi8