This Sunday marked the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Week, and I have certainly been immersed in diabetes awareness this week! The DOC continues to amaze and encourage me every single day: to see their advocacy efforts, their work to change #dstigma and how people talk about type 1 diabetes, their optimism about the future in research for a cure… I could go on and on.
There has been one story in particular that drew my attention (in addition to many others!) this week. Sierra Sandison, who lives with T1D, was crowned Miss Idaho 2014 this week. What’s more, Sierra wore her insulin pump onstage for the swimsuit competition! Talk about self-confidence and stepping out for diabetes awareness! Her crowning received much well-deserved attention and respect from the DOC. Yesterday, Sierra shared a photo on Facebook from the swimsuit competition along with a call to action for all those with T1D:
There it is. I would never have dreamt of posting a swimsuit picture on social media, but diabetics from all over the country have been asking to see me and my insulin pump on the #MissIdaho2014 stage. Honestly, it is terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device. 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. Use it to, not only empower yourself and grow as an individual, but to serve and influence other people as well.
With that said, I have faced my fear of proudly showing my insulin pump! Now I want to see YOURS! Post your photo on social media (insta, twitter, facebook–make sure it is shared publically so I can see it) with the hashtag #showmeyourpump! The nationwide support from my fellow diabetics this weekend has been AMAZING! I can’t wait to see more of you guys!
This is not limited to just girls, or to people with pumps–I want to see YOU and whatever your daily battle with diabetes looks like.
Sierra, you are such an inspiration! I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old, and I have always been self-conscious about showing my pump site and CGM site when I wear a bathing suit. Teenage girls are already self-conscious enough as it is, right?! We all have obstacles, challenges, and trials that can overcome us, but not if we choose to overcome them!
While I won’t be sharing a bikini photo (for modesty reasons, not embarrassment reasons 🙂 ), here is a photo of me wearing my insulin pump proudly on the waist of my skirt today!
I have always loved wearing skirts and dresses, but it has taken me a long time to feel confident and comfortable about wearing my pump visibly while doing so. For the longest time, I wore my pump on a leg strap (think like a big garter with a pocket) around my thigh, which was often tight and uncomfortable. But I would willingly sacrifice comfort for so-called confidence over and over again. Over the past 6 months or so, I have gradually been putting my pump on the waist band of my skirts instead of hiding it underneath where it is often so tight and uncomfortable! I have grown confident and proud to wear my pump so visibly. It brings questions, comments, and conversation that are all welcome because they bring about awareness and education. Thank you, Miss Idaho, for inspiring and encouraging so many people with T1D to embrace who they are and still live life to the fullest! #showmeyourpump