Twenty years ago on this date, an unfortunate event took place impacting a bright young lady who dreamed of one day becoming Miss America; she was diagnosed with diabetes. Instead of it serving as a setback, Nicole embraced it. This thing called diabetes was not going to stop her en route to her dreams. Diabetes would just NOT do.
Had she NOT been diagnosed, I do not know what her platform would have been in 1999 when she achieved that dream and was crowned Miss America. But truth be known, that platform is where Nicole jumped off that night and never looked back. I still am unsure how many Miss Americas who stated their platform the night they won are still at it as strong, and as tenaciously, as Nicole Johnson.
And although she is certainly a who’s who in the diabetes world; still one of the most appealing things about her is how common it is to see her down on one knee speaking to a young lady with diabetes. She will reach into her carry-case and remove that crown she wore on that special night in 1999 and place it on the young lady’s head and remind her that with diabetes, the only obstacle is her own imagination.
This advocate; this organizer of programs at USF, her initiating world-wide projects, this spokesperson for anything diabetes, this multi-board member, this author, and so much more; is the same person who never forgot how lonely it can feel to have diabetes and when that look of fear and/or loneliness is seen in a child’s eyes, few act accordingly as well as Nicole Johnson does. And THAT, as the commercial says, is priceless.
A Partial Bio from her site:
Nicole has served as an international consultant and advocate for diabetes issues for more than twelve years. She has worked tirelessly promoting awareness, prevention and early detection of the condition she has shared since 1993.
Nicole is a Telly award-winning television journalist and an avid writer. Her articles on living with diabetes have appeared in Diabetic Cooking Magazine, Guideposts Magazine, Diabetes Forecast, Diabetes Health, USA Today and on various websites related to diabetes. She has written six books including her most recent diabetes cookbook, Nicole Johnson’s Diabetes Recipe Makeovers and her autobiography, Living with Diabetes.
In 2010, Nicole secured funding and is the Executive Director for an innovative project called Bringing Science Home at the University of South Florida. This project investigates the connection between chronic disease, family dynamics and optimistic living.
Nicole also serves on numerous health related advisory boards including the Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council and the Tampa Bay chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She is also a past national board member for the American Diabetes Association and an appointee to the National Institutes of Health Council of Public Representatives.
Over the last twelve years, Nicole has helped raise over $26 million for diabetes research and programs. She is passionate about promoting public participation and understanding of research. She holds a Doctorate of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida.
A really FUN-VIDEO created for this Diabetes Month by the Students with Diabetes—click here.
For Diabetes Awareness Month:
This month, I will be highlighting someone in the diabetes community. They may be people you know, or might not know, but they give of themselves to make this world, our world, with diabetes a special place. I will not get to everyone this month, but it is my hope that perhaps you can be introduced to some of those you may not know.
I’m certainly not the definitive on who should be included….you are. If you think I should include someone, shoot me an email at email@example.com and I will do what I can to include that person as well. Welcome to diabetes awareness month.
I am a diabetes dad.
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