Among the taut, well-honed beauties in the Miss Idaho 2014 competition, one woman took a stand for people struggling with diabetes everywhere. During the Miss Idaho pageant on July 12, Sierra Sandison strutted down the runway in a bikini with an accessory rarely seen in the pageant world: a visible insulin pump.
Sandison took the title, but her real victory was one shared by hundreds of people who wear a similar pump. On her Facebook page, Sandison—who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012— shared a picture of herself with the device clearly visible, an image that quickly went viral.
“There it is,” Sandison wrote. “My message to everyone, diabetic or not, is that we all have something that doesn’t ‘measure up’ to the beauty standards set by the media—and that is okay! It does not make you any less beautiful. We also all have obstacles, challenges, and trials. Diabetes turned my life upside down when I was first diagnosed. Don’t let your challenge hold you back or slow you down.”
“I have faced my fear of proudly showing my insulin pump,” Sandison wrote. “Now I want to see yours!”
Response to the hashtag that Sandison created, #showmeyourpump, was immediate. Hundreds of people left shots in the comments, and messages of encouragement. By Friday, the image had been shared by over 2,000 people, and had reached almost 5,000 likes.
“Way to be so confident and courageous for the world to see!” one commenter wrote.
“You changed my 11-year-old daughter’s summer! She’s been so self-conscious but since she read about you & saw this photo, she cannot wait to wear a bathing suit tomorrow & show off her insulin pod & have me post a photo here!” another wrote.
It’s a beautiful, inspiring thing to see a beauty queen use her influence to help young girls, and a big deal for those who suffer from diabetes and struggle with a way to hide their pump. Sandison’s self-acceptance is a major step forward for everyone.
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