For many people, especially young children, having to wear an insulin pump that’s always on show because they have Type 1 diabetes is a real pain—not least because of how self-conscious it makes them feel.
Challenging this stigma is Sierra Sandison, aka Miss Idaho. After previously using insulin shots when participating in pageants because she didn't want a device to show, she was inspired to show her pump publicly after hearing about Nicole Johnson. Johnson was Miss America 1999 and had used a pump, although not on show, in competition.
Sandison wore the pump on stage at Miss Idaho 2014, then posted the pic and message below to Facebook—quickly becoming a source of inspiration for children and others who have to carry similar insulin pumps.
She also started the hashtag #showmeyourpump which users have taken to with gusto, posting pictures on social media showing off their pumps and expressing how they won't feel intimidated anymore about wearing them in public.
Since posting it, Sandison's status has received over 3,000 shares and 6,000 likes. With parents posting messages of support and offering her thanks for empowering others. "You look amazing Miss Idaho!!! My T1 has an amazing fellow T1 to look up to. Thank you!!" said one. While another gushed: "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! Thank you so much! And you'll have a new Instagram follower tomorrow."
You can read more about why Sandison choose to wear her pump on stage over at her blog. Next stop is the Miss America pageant itself, a recent post Sandison made to Facebook said. "For Miss America, we are working hard to find a wardrobe where my pump will be more visible for you guys! Keep 'showing me your pumps'! I am loving them. You guys rock!" No doubt the odds have been slashed on Sierra Sandison becoming Miss America 2015.