Sierra Sandison, aka "Miss Idaho 2014," wore her insulin pump clipped to her bikini bottom during last week's competition, inspiring millions of her fellow diabetics and others with medical conditions.
Sandison posted a stunning picture of herself with the pump on Instagram July 14, and it slowly but surely went viral across several social media sites, People magazine reported
Friday. She asked users to use the "#ShowMeYourPump" hashtag, and retweeted and reposted dozens of pictures fans posted with their own insulin pumps.
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"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," she wrote in the post. "Honestly, it is terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device."
Sandison was crowned on July 12, and has since become an effective spokesperson for diabetes awareness. In a post on her blog
titled "Defeating Diabetes," she chronicles her 2012 diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, and her journey to acceptance and, eventually, pride.
In the post, she said that she was upset and ashamed of her diagnosis at first, but later had her "whole perspective changed" after learning about Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, who wore her insulin pump proudly on the national stage.
She decided then and there to take up Johnson's cause, and carry the banner for proud diabetics everywhere.
"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," she wrote.
"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."
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