Diabetes Platform?……..It Should not be Reserved ONLY for Miss America

crownI had this thought (that surprise you?).  For the last few months I have watched as Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho, Miss America-top-online-vote-getter; as she shouted from the mountain tops about having diabetes while she competed for the Miss America crown.  Took a lot of guts to do that, didn’t it?

Not easy to go out there and say, I wear an insulin pump.  It became a big deal to our community.  Our kids became inspired.  Our kids, in some instances felt….well…less different.  Diabetes in the national spotlight was such a bold move.  We all saw it and thought how wonderful.

Now take it to your living room.   If the media made such a big deal about Sierra having diabetes and wearing the pump, and ‘showing the world’; know that your child does this same thing every single day.

But without the fanfare.

If we thought it was such a big deal that someone would take ‘this diabetes thing’ to a level of showing the world……think, for just a second, what they go through everyday showing the world…..that it is okay.  They make it okay.

Yes it’s brave to go out there like Sierra did, we all said it, we all came together and voted for her to prove the point.  We as a community voted her into being a finalist.  We voted.  But yet, our kids do it every single day, don’t they?  They ‘go out there’.  They get little for their efforts, they are just being a kid.  They put it out there every day.

Don’t let a person in the limelight be the only ‘thunder’ your child with diabetes hears.  In between the million questions of ‘what was your number’, ‘write your number down’, and being the diabetes police we are every day……remember they do what Sierra does every day also.  They just do it without the possibility of winning a crown.

What Sierra did was terrific………what all people with diabetes do every day…..is no less than heroic.

Let them know.  Give them your vote……every day.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Miss America Last Night——If You Think She Lost……..Better Think Again.

Sierra SandisonOk, The Miss America Competition is over and Sierra Sandison did not win…….or did she?  I guess the first question one needs to ask is; “What is your definition of win?”  At the end of the night, did she wear the crown?  If that is your definition: no she did not win.

I have a different definition of win and in my book and if you ask me (and many others), this young lady is about as big a winner as one would ever find.  It’s my understanding that she was very hesitant to speak broadly of her diabetes back when this all started.  It is easy to do nothing, say nothing.  It is hard to take a stand.  After consulting with many, including our community’s very own Miss America, Nicole Johnson, Sierra rethought her platform and decided to come out fully discussing her diabetes.  Even as far as wearing the pump, VERY VISIBLY, during the swim suit competition.

HEY WORLD……..LOOK!!!!!!!!

It is my hope that this new attitude helps her.  I hope it translates to her taking the best care possible; this is my hope.  What I KNOW is that by her actions she has helped countless people out there (probably mostly kids) to say, “Hey, if she is okay, I am okay.”  And THAT is a winner.

Helping others is always a winner.

Now we can stay idle here and not say anything…..but it is my hope that we all take the time—in fact, let’s over-fill Sierra’s email box with congratulatory letters thanking her for her efforts.

Here is her email for Miss Idaho, which she will remain for this year:

Take the time to drop her a quick note and congratulate her on giving more attention to T1 diabetes than we have seen in some time.  She did not have to do that, but she did.  And on any day of the week, that is a winner in my book.  Let her know.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


Could Lightning Strike Twice??…..We Can Only Hope!!

SierraStrange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? This quote is from the movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  For today’s purposes, we need to change the word man……to woman.  And in this case, a specific woman.  Her name is Nicole Johnson.  And if she was not around, and thankfully she is, the hole would have been enormous.

There were many, many, many stories running around this week about Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison (pictured above), and her wearing of her insulin pump during last week’s competition where she was crowned.  In her own words she will tell you that she did not even want to mention her diabetes much less wear a bathing suit with her pump attached, and someone changed her mind.

“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. 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!”

Amen sister!

Nicole johnsonI have known Nicole for a long time and she is as consistent as the sun rises and falls when it comes to diabetes.  I have stated on many occasions that I am not quite sure if other Miss America’s have held fast and true to their platform for change that they talked about when they were crowned, but Nicole’s drive has only become stronger, more dedicated, and more wide-spread.

Her platform about diabetes was truly only the beginning.  What she has accomplished with college students, legislation, testifying on the hill, lecturing, and so much more has changed the face of diabetes in this country.

She has always been who she is and many have benefitted from her efforts; and now Sierra Sandison has made it quite clear why she is coming out in full voice about diabetes; it was because of another Miss America who was not afraid to stand up and say after she was told that she should never try to compete again, “If anybody, if anybody should compete; I have a reason to compete.  I had a message.  I have something that people need to know about.  They need to know about this disease.”

That woman was Nicole Johnson.  (see the video of her incredible story, here.) 

In the fall, a Miss America will be crowned.  When no one else would do it, one did. Imagine another young lady with T1 diabetes becoming Miss America?

We can only hope.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Share with College Students Everywhere……..YOU MUST Register by MAY 15th!!!!


attentionIF you know any college student with diabetes; please make sure they know about this incredible weekend.  May 31-June 2nd —-get to the event in Tampa and $85 COVERS EVERYTHING.  Open to anyone 18-30.


Calling all College Students and Young Adults living with Type 1 diabetes! Nicole Johnson, Students with Diabetes Founder and Miss America 1999, invites you to the 2013 Students With Diabetes National Conference.  

It is an amazing weekend of fun, inspiration and education specifically designed for you and your Type 3′s.  We’ll be going to the beach, enjoying some amazing water activities and you never know what else Nicole may have planned for you.  Don’t miss this exciting time of networking, learning more about your diabetes reality and building friendships that will last a lifetime.

Register now and join us for a great time on the water in Tampa, Florida.


Ms. Johnson, led by her own personal and incredible journey with diabetes, created this incredible group.  The dream of the organization began with the diagnosis of a college student at USF in 1993. That college student was told to drop out of school, give up on her career dreams and live a predictable [boring] life.

That student was Nicole Johnson.

Today, Nicole is the Executive Director of Bringing Science Home. (And she was also Miss America 1999.) Students With Diabetes is devoted to understanding the challenges facing students and young adults and strategizing ways to meet those challenges, allowing them to succeed. The goal of Students With Diabetes is to grow into nationwide organization offering membership to students and young adults across the country. It is imperative that students and young adults living with diabetes have the opportunity to connect with others like them and to learn about how to address diabetes in real life. For us, this is the starting point for a successful adult life with diabetes – something all students and young adults deserve.

GET There.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’


Miss America????…..We Already Have Ours Thank You.

Nicole JohnsonDid you see the Miss America Pageant on Saturday night?  I’m not afraid to admit it, I did.   Not merely for the talent (which was fun), not for the gowns (really…..how could they not look gorgeous in gowns), not for their answers which the judges threw at them (I have to admit, the questions this year were pretty bold), and not even for the swim suits (I mean really……they’re competing for Miss America,do you expect any of them to look bad in a swimsuit?).   Not for any of these reasons, nope.

I watch to hear what the platforms are for each Miss America contestant.  According to the Miss America Website a platform for the contestants has been required since 1989.
“…..requires each contestant to choose an issue about which she cares deeply and that is of relevance to our country. Once chosen, Miss America and the state title holders use their stature to address community service organizations, business and civic leaders, the media and others about their platform issues…..”

I find these ‘platforms’ extremely interesting.  Can one woman actually change a world advocating something that is personal to her.  I admit I am a tad spoiled because as I watched this year’s show, I know one person did just that……changed the world.

How many times have we seen a celebrity who is somehow touched by diabetes?  Themselves perhaps, or a loved one who battles diabetes, and what is our first thought: how much of a difference they could make if they utilized their feelings into a ‘diabetes platform’ like is done with Miss America.  And to be truthful, many have.

But if you think about it, when it comes to this type of public awareness, or trying to draw attention to a cause, one person still stands alone in heroic efforts for a sustained long period of time.  And coincidentally, she is also a Miss America.

In our world of trying to enlist someone with notoriety to help us gain attention in the grand world stage about diabetes, Nicole Johnson’s (Miss America 1999) efforts are tireless to say the least.  She has understood the word ‘AND’ more than most who are in the limelight.  Many have pursued their platform as a ‘sidenote’, Ms. Johnson has made it her life’s passion.

Her list of accomplishments as spokesperson, advocate, and lecturer are clearly not of the thought process that it needs to be this organization OR that organization.  It is this organization AND that organization AND that organization.  She has traveled the world with a unified voice that diabetes ‘will just not do’ in this world.

You can read about all of her efforts at her website, Nicole Johnson.com.

Her first hand of experience of living with diabetes captures your attention and yet, it is seeing her on one knee speaking to a little girl after placing that majestic crown upon her head that captures your heart.  Ms. Johnson is not afraid to tackle huge issues on Capitol Hill and in State Legislations around the United States, but she also knows how to calm the fears of what a little girl must feel in a world of such unknowns with diabetes.  A global approach to a personal life; and she does both better than anyone I’ve ever met.

She will travel anywhere to discuss diabetes, and will also go to a war zone to let soldiers know a homeland has not forgotten them.   She can take on big ideas but also help small hands to grasp a crown of jewels.  She has the same impact speaking to ten thousand as she does one-on-one. Clearly someone forgot to tell Ms. Johnson that her hectic schedule could calm down a little after her first year of Miss America.  In this human dynamo’s life, her hectic schedule only increased.

So this past weekend was the Miss America Contest in Las Vegas; the diabetes community has their own Miss America and has had her since 1999; and we thank her for all she has done…….and I have a feeling she has only just begun; and aren’t we lucky.

I am a diabetes dad

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